The Seattle Seahawks released veteran pass rusher Cliff Avril on Friday with a failed physical designation.
Avril, 32, was hoping to return in 2018 after suffering a serious neck injury last October that forced him to miss the final 12 games of the regular season.
Avril had recorded 34.5 sacks in 67 games with Seattle over the past five seasons. He was a Pro Bowler in 2016 when he had a career-high 11.5 sacks to go along with five forced fumbles.
Avril thanked the organization and the team’s fans on his Instagram account.
“Thank you 12s for making the last 5 years in Seattle so amazing!” Avril wrote in reference to the fans. “Your cheers on Sundays are unmatched, and you guys are by far the best fans in the NFL! Most importantly, I appreciate and value the lifelong friendships I’ve made.
“You all have supported my family, my foundation (the Cliff Avril Family Foundation), and I throughout my entire tenure, and I could not have asked for more! THANK YOU to the entire Seahawk organization as well as my teammates. You all made me a Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl Champ! I am forever grateful. THANK YOU!”
The release of Avril clears $7.125 million in salary cap space, according to spotrac.com. Avril was entering the final season of a four-year, $28.5 million deal.
Avril is the latest departure from the Seattle defense over the offseason. The Seahawks previously traded defensive end Michael Bennett to the Philadelphia Eagles and released cornerback Richard Sherman.
Also, safety Kam Chancellor faces an uncertain future due to his own neck injury, and safety Earl Thomas has been the subject of trade rumors with the Dallas Cowboys.
Overall, Avril has 74 sacks in 10 NFL seasons. He had 39.5 with the Detroit Lions from 2008-12.
–Field Level Media