RENTON -- Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril is expected to be placed on injured reserve due to a neck injury sustained three weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Seahawks have not yet made the move to place Avril on injured reserve, but head coach Pete Carroll said that was the team's plan during an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday.
"He's going to take some time to deal with his situation," Carroll said. "We'll figure it out as we go. Not a definitive situation yet but it is going to be a while, we've got to give him a while for his neck to calm down and we'll see how that goes. He's taking in a lot of information right now, he's seeing a lot of doctors. He's just trying to find out exactly what his situation is and what he can anticipate, seriously looking at this and it's a big decision coming up."
A source confirmed the likely move for Avril, which has been lurking as a possibility ever since the injury occurred.
Avril was injured chasing down Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the first quarter of Seattle's 46-18 win over Indianapolis in Week 4. Avril was running after Brissett from behind as he was scrambling toward the sidelines. The back of Brissett's foot kicked Avril under the chin as Avril lunged to tackle him. Avril was seen shaking his arms and flexing his hands in an apparent attempt to restore feeling to his extremities after the impact.
Carroll said Tuesday that they were still awaiting more information but that they believed they would know more in the coming days.
"We are continuing to help him look and figure out what comes next," Carroll said on Tuesday. "I can't say anything to you today, but maybe the next couple of days we will know more. He's continuing to see specialists to make sure he knows what his situation is and we are encouraging all of that."
Avril would be eligible to return from injured reserve after eight weeks and able to return to practice after six weeks. Seattle can have two players return from the injured reserve list during the season and have not used either one of their return designations up to this point. The only other player on injured reserve currently that would seem a viable candidate to return would be running back Chris Carson, who is expected to miss most, if not all, of the season with a leg fracture and severe high-ankle sprain.
However, the injury could very well lead to Avril's retirement. Avril is in his 10th season in the NFL and made his first Pro Bowl last season after compiling a career-high 11.5 sacks for Seattle and five forced fumbles. Avril has spoken candidly about his football mortality in the past, telling Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times that he would consider retiring if he had a significant injury again like a really bad concussion he sustained while with the Detroit Lions.
"He's a champion," defensive coordinator Kris Richard said. "He's always handled himself with class. He's always had tremendous poise and he's been a champion throughout this whole entire ordeal.
"We hope (he can come back.) We certainly hope. Right now, we're unsure. There really isn't anything in concrete or in stone that has been settled. If we get him, man, that would certainly be awesome. He's a huge piece to our puzzle. If not, we have to make sure we really carry on what he and others have started."
Avril also witnessed teammate Ricardo Lockette suffer a serious neck injury two years ago in Dallas. Lockette could have been killed if not properly treated in the aftermath of the injury and he has a reduced range of motion in his neck after the injury.
While Avril's injuries are not the same as Lockette's, neck injuries aren't something to be flippant about. Avril, and the Seahawks, will need to be very careful and diligent in reaching a final decision.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 01: Jacoby Brissett #7 of the Indianapolis Colts tries to escape defensive end Cliff Avril #56 of the Seattle Seahawks in the first quarter at CenturyLink Field on October 1, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)