DETROIT - Lions defensive end Cliff Avril returned to practice today when he signed his tender, ending his holdout. Avril will begin practicing with pads later this week, but doesn't expect to play in Friday's preseason opener.
Despite much speculation about when he would return to the team, Avril said he tried to stay away from all the hype. He tried to spend time watching the Olympics to avoid constant NFL talk on TV.
"I knew what day I was going to come back, I had it planned out already, so it wasn't a big deal to me," Avril said. "Once I knew I was getting franchised I took it for a positive. I got to spend that day with my son and then take a day for myself."
Being a five-year veteran, Avril joked that the biggest thing he missed in the opening week of training camp was the soreness. His biggest worry is familiarizing himself with the playbook.
"I don't think it will affect me that much," Avril said. "I wanted to get back so I could get my legs up under me and to help this team get to the Super Bowl."
Despite the differences between Avril and the Lions, he said he would still like to reach a long term deal with the team.
"I would love to be with the Lions," Avril said. "I like the city. I like the organization. [We] just couldn't get anything done."
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