Cliff Avril is drawing interest from the Cleveland Browns, but he’s making it apparent that he’s not interested in returning to Detroit to play for the Lions. With free agency unofficially starting at midnight tonight, Avril has severed talks with the Lions and has publically stated he’s willing to play in a 3-4 defense.
Coincidentally the Browns, under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton, are planning on running a 3-4 look on defense next season.
While Avril hasn’t talked to the Lions and doesn’t plan to go out of his way to do so, he’s not ruling out the possibility that he could end up back in Detroit. However, his confidence in that particular scenario is not very high.
We haven’t really been talking, but there’s still a few days,” Avril said. “Maybe they will make a strong push, or we’ll make a push with them. At the same time, we haven’t really been talking. Last year, I got franchised, and we didn’t start talking to them until four or five days before that deadline. I don’t know if that’s their way of doing things, but we haven’t been talking.”
The most interesting thing that Avril said was that he’s willing to play in a 3-4 defense, which is a set that may see him switch to outside linebacker as edge rushers in a 4-3 defense typically convert to outside linebacker when they become a apart of a new scheme.
“I think I can do it,” Avril said. “I thought I was going to be a 3-4 coming out, obviously. I ended up getting drafted to the Lions at the defensive end position. The weird thing is all the guys out of Purdue from the last few drafts who played end became 3-4 ends. I’m the only one out of all of those guys who played linebacker and became a defensive end. Maybe I’ll join that club, if it’s the case.”
All of this further indicates that the Browns are going to land Avril, as he’s one of their biggest targets for the upcoming free agency period. Paul Kruger is also incredibly high on the Browns list and it’s largely believed that Cleveland will be willing to over pay in order to get both of them on the same defense.