This week’s conversation is with Cliff Avril, a former NFL defensive end.

Cliff played college football at Purdue and was drafted in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.

He also played for the Seattle Seahawks, where he won Super Bowl XLVIII and made a Pro Bowl.

Cliff and I met at the Seahawks and I had the pleasure of catching up with him at the NFL Combine this past week in Indianapolis.

He recently retired after a great 10-year run in the league and is searching for what to do next.

What’s his purpose now that the craft he’s dedicated more than half his life to is no longer the priority?

Transitions can be tricky for all of us so I think you’ll really appreciate Cliff’s honesty, his willingness to be vulnerable, and his overall approach to life.

“Now that I’m out of ball, the hardest thing is finding out what else I’m passionate about.”

In This Episode:

  • How losing at the beginning of his career made him really appreciate the success that followed
  • Why competition fueled him at the Seahawks
  • The sacrifices he made to integrate and be a positive addition to Seahawks’ culture
  • Why he always felt like he had to prove himself in the NFL
  • Why NFL players go broke
  • Importance of having a community and how it changes when you leave the League
  • Transitioning to next phase of life… uncertainty and fear of not knowing what’s next and searching for purpose
  • The cost of being the best at what you do
  • What he notices he has in common with business executives, CEOs, leaders … work ethic, grind, sacrifice
  • How he looks at the Super Bowl he won and the one he lost
  • His approach to being present on and off the field
  • How his confidence varied throughout his career
  • His Haitian roots and what he’s doing to make a difference there
  • Why he’s had a hard time building trust in his relationships off the field
  • The message his dad gave him when he left for college that changed his life
  • What he would ask another master


Listen via: Apple Podcasts | Android | SpotifyStitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS



“I never missed practice because I always felt like I had to prove myself. Nothing was ever given to me.”

“Everybody wants to roll out of bed and have a purpose so that’s my anxiety more so than anything; trying to figure out what that next thing is, what else I’m passionate about.”

“Football’s what I do, not who I am, because I knew one day it was going to end.”

“All of the things that make successful athletes, that got them to whatever that point was, that success, can also be the reason why they go crazy.”

“I don’t want football to be the one thing that I’m remembered for. I want to be the guy that built schools in Haiti, the guy that’s helping the less fortunate. I want to be remembered as that. I just wanted football to be the platform that got me to that.”


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Retired NFL Defensive End

Cliff Avril is a 10 year NFL veteran, Super Bowl 48 Champion, Pro Bowl Defensive End, and most importantly a man of faith, a dad, and husband.