Any Seahawk who hasn’t gone off the grid the last two weeks has gotten more than enough reminders that the team that eliminated Seattle from the postseason is playing in Super Bowl 50.
And then there’s defensive end Cliff Avril. He makes his offseason home in of all places Charlotte, N.C., which is the epicenter of a Panthers fan-base that is buzzing in anticipation of Sunday’s game.
“The city’s on fire right now, as they should be,” Avril told “Justin and Gee” on Friday. “That team’s in the Super Bowl, so everywhere you go you see Panthers fans in Cam Newton shirts and all these different things. It’s a little weird for me, but it is what it is.”
Avril said he’s never done the dab, the dance move that originated in Newton’s hometown of Atlanta and was popularized by the Panthers quarterback once he adopted it as one of his celebrations. You know a dance has become a full-fledged craze when Jim Harbaugh has done it. Ballerinas from the Charlotte Ballet and a professional golfer did it this week. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even gave it a shot.
Avril’s 4-year-old son can’t stop doing it.
“Since my son’s gotten back – he’s in school here – he has been dabbing his behind off, doing the whole Cam thing, first-down thing,” Avril said. “It’s like a bitter-sweet thing. It’s kind of cute but then again it’s like, ehh, you shouldn’t be doing that because we don’t play for the Panthers. But it’s all good.”
Avril said above all else he’s hoping for a good game Sunday, but he wouldn’t mind seeing Carolina win.
“It’d be great for this city,” he said. “The city’s growing fast anyways, so I think it’s be great. And it’d be great for Cam, for his brand and different things like that. So I’d he happy to see those guys win it.”
And for Avril, it will be strange to watch the Super Bowl after playing in it the last two years. It has already felt that way, he said.
“Just watching the playoff game the other day, I was like, ‘This is a terrible feeling right now,'” he said. “We kinda got spoiled with making it to the playoffs and going to the Super Bowl. It’s unreal. My family members are like – people ask them what they’re doing for the Super Bowl – they’re like, ‘We’re used to being at the Super Bowl.’ It’s a weird feeling. It’s a nasty feeling and we definitely want to get back, that’s for sure.”
Avril also shared his thoughts on former Lions teammate Calvin Johnson’s reported plans to retire and discussed the latest with his charity, the Cliff Avril Family Foundation, which is geared toward encouraging children to live active and healthy lifestyles and increasing awareness of type-2 diabetes.
Avril said a few Seahawks teammates will travel with him in April to Haiti – where his parents are from – to work on behalf of the foundation. That trip will include a youth football camp. Avril said he’s also building an elementary school in Haiti.