Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril reported to training camp on Sunday and signed his franchise tender. He did not take part in Sunday night's practice at Ford Field, though. His training camp debut came on Monday when practice moved back to Allen Park. By rule, he wasn't allowed to wear pads on his first day back, but he took part in position drills and later got some work in team drills with the Lions getting rid of their shoulder pads.
Cliff Avril taking reps in team drill. They've dialed down the contact so he can participate.— Lions RapidReports (@CBSSportsNFLDET) August 6, 2012
After practice, Avril stayed out on the field for a bit to do some extra work with Jason Fox and Riley Reiff. It was all part of shaking off the rust from his first day back, and Avril sounds like he's confident it won't take long to get back into the swing of things. From MLive:
"Day one," Avril said. "I'm pretty sure everybody was a little rusty on the first day. It's all about getting a feel for my reads again. I feel like I'll get it back fast."
Avril, who is glad he waited to return until after his son's first birthday last week, doesn't expect to play in the Lions' preseason opener on Friday against the Cleveland Browns. Considering he just got back, that's not a surprise by any means. There's no sense in rushing him into a game if he's not ready, so chances are his preseason debut will come on Aug. 17 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Regardless of when he hits the field in a game, the important thing is Avril is back. It took much longer for him to return than anybody anticipated at the start of the offseason, but he is now back and ready to get to work.
I'll just let Gunther Cunningham close things out with his thoughts on the Avril situation:
Gunther Cunningham on Cliff Avril: "It's about time he shows up. I've been waiting six months for him."— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) August 5, 2012