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Lions' Tom Lewand On Cliff Avril: 'The Ball's In His Court'

The Detroit Lions are set to wrap up the pre-training camp portion of their offseason program next week with a mandatory minicamp. Unless something changes, Cliff Avril will not be in attendance, because he has not yet signed his franchise tender. He hasn't been at the OTAs, and he hasn't worked out at the team's facility, so it's unlikely he would show up to the minicamp without signing his tender.

Lions president Tom Lewand was asked on Wednesday about where things stand with Avril. His response made it pretty clear that the Lions are waiting for Avril to make a move.

"We obviously have the tender out on Cliff and he’s welcome to sign that anytime he wants," Lions president Tom Lewand said at the team’s charity golf outing today. "We’ve continued discussions on whether we can convert that into something on a longer-term basis but, really, in many ways, in terms of the tender, the ball’s in his court."

The Lions and Avril have been trying to negotiate a long-term deal for nearly a year now. The two sides clearly have a different opinion of what Avril should be making, which is why nothing of the long-term variety has been agreed to. Negotiations on a long-term deal can continue until July 16, at which point Avril will be stuck with the franchise tender for 2012 if a new deal isn't signed.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.