Seahawks place Avril on IR; playing future uncertain

The Seattle Seahawks officially placed Cliff Avril on injured reserve on Friday as questions remain about the defensive end’s long-term playing future due to a neck/spine issue.

Avril was injured while diving to tackle Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett during an Oct. 1 game. Avril was kicked in the process of making the shoe-string tackle, and suffered numbness in his arms and hands when his head snapped back.

The Seahawks have been intentionally vague about Avril’s playing future as the neck/spine injury is evaluated by specialists. The move to IR means Avril must miss at least eight games and cannot practice for six weeks, and coach Pete Carroll said it remains unclear if Avril will be able to return to the field this season, or in the future.

“I’m a thousand percent in support of whatever we need to do here to help him,” Carroll said. “That’s why we’re taking our time. The IR thing gives him (eight) weeks at least to figure out whatever else we can figure out. But he’s not sure what’s best for him right now, he’s trying to find that out. And we’re hopefully giving him a good sense that we’re going to support him all the way throughout and figure out what’s best.”

Avril returned to the team this week after seeing another specialist to evaluate the extent of the neck/spine issue. Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop said he spoke to Avril and that Avril said he is not considering retiring.

Avril, 31, is under contract through the 2018 season, but he would need to receive medical clearance in order to return to the field. The Seahawks could also save $7.5 million against the 2018 salary cap by releasing him.

Avril made the first Pro Bowl of his career last season after recording a team-high 11.5 sacks.

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