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Lions Players Vote Cliff Avril Defensive MVP

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Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril had a career year in 2011, recording 36 tackles, 11 sacks, four pass defenses, one interception, one touchdown and a six forced fumbles. He played a big role in the Lions creating turnovers and getting to opposing quarterbacks, and for his great season, his teammates have voted him the Lem Barney Defensive MVP.

Here's what Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek had to say about Avril:

"He’s a young player just coming into his prime," said Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. "Each year he’s gotten better and each year he’s having a bigger impact and making bigger plays. It’s not just the sacks and the fumbles, either, it’s also the plays Cliff makes down the field."

Avril, of course, is set to become a free agent in March. Whether he returns to the Lions or hits the open market, Avril is going to get a pretty big deal. As Kocurek said, Avril has improved each year of his career, and he is definitely hitting his prime at just the right moment.