Michael Bennett gave a quick update on Cliff Avril's health post-surgery, and also called out fantasy football fans for their callous attitudes towards NFL players' injuries
Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril have been inseparable since they both joined the Seahawks in 2013, and this season has been tough for both, but for different reasons.
Avril, of course, hasn’t played since he suffered a neck injury against the Colts on Oct. 1 that landed him on injured reserve and has put his career in jeopardy.
Avril had disc surgery on Tuesday, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the procedure went well. Avril also sounded optimistic in a tweet on Wednesday, saying, “The road to recovery has begun. Thanks for all the prayer and love.”
Still, he has a long, uncertain road ahead of him, something that Bennett reiterated Thursday afternoon, emphasizing the severity of Avril’s neck injury, and saying it’s been tough watching him go through this whole ordeal.
“I think you want to be able to walk away from the game the way you want to walk away from the game. To suffer an injury of any magnitude, especially one where you could easily have been paralyzed, is something you have to be able to try to move forward past, and it’s a hard thing to do,” Bennett said. “It’s always devastating to lose a guy and not know his future.”
Bennett said he talks to Avril every day. He said Avril’s future is “uncertain” and that “nobody knows what’s going to happen.”
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“For me, I take that personally,” Bennett said. “So that’s hard. … The relationship me and Cliff have is a family type of relationship where we’re really close like brothers. So to not have him on the football field is devastating. But to see what he’s going through personally is more devastating.”
Bennett then echoed sentiments expressed Richard Sherman earlier this season when, after tailback Chris Carson’s season ending injury, Sherman called out football fans, accusing them of caring more about their fantasy team’s production than about how injuries affect NFL players’ lives and livelihoods.
“I think a lot of people, a lot of fans out there have looked at players less like people because of fantasy football and things like that,” Sherman said in October.
Bennett shared a similar opinion Thursday.
“A lot of times, fans aren’t connected to the injury part of the game. They’re more connected to whethe their fantasy league points are high or their fantasy league points are low,” Bennett said. “And when guys are really injured—life-altering injuries, we’re not talking about Achilles or ACLs, but neck injuries and those types of injuries that can last forever – those are the types of injuries that fans don’t understand are what you go through personally.”
Added Bennett, “For (Avril) and me and the rest of the guys, it’s a personal journey that we’re going through with him as he goes through it, and making sure he has a lot of people who care about him.”
Bennett also praised the Seahawks for their concern for players’ welfare.
“This is a great organization that really shows that they care about their injured player, unlike most teams in the NFL,” Bennett said. “Injuries are part of the game, but it doesn’t make it easier to accept. And that’s the thing: We have to be able to care for our people.”