Defensive end Cliff Avril will be in the Detroit area next week when the Lions' offseason conditioning program begins. He isn't expected to participate, but it turns out that he may be able to even if he isn't under contract. Originally, the thinking was that Avril would not be allowed to take part in the program because he hasn't signed his franchise tender, but apparently a waiver exists that would allow him to work out with the team. Lions president Tom Lewand discussed this very issue during an interview on Monday.
"Anybody who is under a tender of any type, whether it's a restricted free agent or franchise tag, can participate," Lewand said on WJR-AM (760) Monday night. "There's a waiver they can sign that we have that protects both the club and the player so they can participate fully in the offseason program while they continue to pursue any rights under the system they have as a tendered player."
Just because he can participate doesn't mean he will, of course. And just because there is an offseason program doesn't mean everybody will participate since it is voluntary. Minicamps and things like that aren't until later in the offseason. The offseason conditioning program, while valuable, is merely a voluntary activity.
Restricted free agents DeAndre Levy, Sammie Hill and Corey Hilliard have not yet signed their tenders, but based on what Lewand said, they could participate in the offseason program next week if they sign a waiver.