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Avril: 'I'm very, very fortunate to be franchised by an NFL team'

Hours after the Detroit Lions announced that they had applied the franchise tag to defensive end Cliff Avril, the four-year veteran already was looking on the bright side.

"Honestly and truthfully -- at the end of the day -- I'm very, very fortunate to be franchised by an NFL team. I'm very blessed," Avril said Monday, according to the team's official website. "That being said, being a business, you always want to do what's best for you and your family.

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"Being franchised -- I'm blessed and I'm definitely happy about being considered a player to give that tag to. I just hope we can continue to negotiate and try to get something done."

"Football team-wise, I'm ecstatic to be back because I see the potential," Avril said. "Hopefully we're bringing back most of the guys that helped us get to the playoffs. Definitely feel like we have a great young team and we've just got to keep building."

A team source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora last month that the Lions would be willing to apply the tag to keep Avril from hitting free agency, even though general manager Martin Mayhew previously had said the opposite. The sides have until July 15 to agree to a long-term contract or Avril will play in 2012 for the franchise-tag amount, which is expected to be $10.6 million.

Avril had a career-high 11 sacks in 2011.

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