Avril responds to accustations by Falcons' players, AJC columnist

Posted Oct 24, 2011

The Detroit Lions lost a 23-16 decision to the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on Sunday, but it seems some of the Falcons' media and players don't want to let it stop there.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz wrote following the game: "... when Ryan was down, writhing in pain, Lions defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril taunted him, according to the Falcons."

Atlanta center Todd McClure and wide receiver Roddy White were quoted with their accusations toward Suh and Avril, stating that Suh was yelling at quarterback Matt Ryan and Avril was "kicking his feet."

Not only does the character of both Suh and Avril strongly discount these accusations, but a video clip of the injury and what happened shortly thereafter shows that Suh and Avril weren't even near Ryan.

"I feel like the media allows people to open up doors and they take things out of context a lot," said Avril. "It’s too easy to portray people to be something they’re not a lot of times."

Schultz certainly jumps to conclusions, stating that, "Suh and Avril were not around to respond to the comments afterward. But it doesn't seem like the kind of thing somebody would make up after a win."

The truth is, however, the Falcons players have zero evidence to back up their claims.

"It isn't in anybody’s character in our D-line room, honestly and truthfully, to go out and try and end guys’ careers," said Avril. "Nobody in our D-line from me to Suh to Kyle to Corey – that’s not football to us. We play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, I believe, which is to get after the quarterback and hit the quarterback and stop the run. That’s what it is.

"Nobody’s out there trying to tear ACLs, nobody’s out there trying to do all the season-ending injuries. But then you have O-linemen that are taught that and they get away with it and all of a sudden we get the stigma of the name of being 'a dirty group' which is mind-boggling, honestly."

Avril says the Lions' defensive linemen entered this game with an awareness of what they would be up against in terms of the Falcons' offensive line.

"You watch film of Atlanta's O-line and they're 20, 30 yards down the field cutting guys," said Avril. "You're running toward the pile and they're trying to clean you up. Everybody was protecting themselves.

"I guess since they couldn't clean us up in piles because guys were aware of it, they decide to make it like we're the dirty players. It's funny though, in a sense, because I guess nobody's ever said anything about how they play.

"But then they go out and say that we play dirty and the media really gravitates toward that and they show all the stuff that we're doing, but not showing the stuff that they're doing."

Avril has dealt with comments of his own via his Twitter account - one that he posted on his page.

An Atlanta Falcons fan wrote, "You are classless scum. Hope you blow your knee out."

"You get a lot of people that tweet you a lot of negative stuff about they’re hoping I tear my ACL and all this extra stuff," said Avril. "They don’t move me. They don’t make my career. I don’t really care about all that and none of that effects how I play, honestly.

"I’m just going to go out there and study film and play football. That’s what I do. I don’t necessarily care about the extra stuff of us being dirty. The true football players that watch film know that we’re not those type of guys."