Seattle Seahawks Cliff Avril’ emotional year

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Seattle Seahawks defense end Cliff Avril and his family were hosting a party this past Memorial Day weekend. His father, Jean Samuel left work and was on his way with Avril’s cousins to Charlotte, North Carolina from Jacksonville, Florida.

Avril spoke to his father when they were about 45 minutes away. After their conversation his father “fell asleep”.

“When they got to the house, I guess when they turned into the driveway, he fell over,” Avril recalled. “They tried to wake him up like, ‘We’re here.’ And he never woke up.”

Avril recalls rushing to the car and requesting for an ambulance, but sadly his father died of a heart attack during the journey. His father was 68.

“It was a surprise, a complete surprise,” Avril said.

“It’s the first time in my life, really, where I’ve lost anybody close to me. It’s a difficult time, probably one of the hardest times in my life, especially because I was having a newborn as well.”

The last nine months have been an emotional roller coaster for the player, first in February he had to leave the Super Bowl to be evaluated for a concussion, then his father died in May, and last month his son was born.

“It’s a heck of a roller-coaster, really,” Avril said. “I just think about all the positives with my dad and all the things he’s instilled in me. And then having my newborn, there’s no greater feeling than seeing this newborn and seeing him look you in your eyes and knowing that you’re responsible for this child. It’s amazing. But it’s been a heck of a year.”

Avril parents emigrated from Haiti to America in the 80’s and settled in Jacksonville, where they raised him. His father worked for Vac-Con over 25 years. His mother had 3 different jobs until Avril started receiving NFL paychecks.

“My dad was a very wise man,” Avril said. “I think about all the great things he taught me and how to incorporate that into our day-to-day living and instilling those different values in my kids. I believe he’s still with me everywhere I go. I’ll meet him again one day.”



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