Seahawks Defensive End Cliff Avril Recaps His Trip To Haiti

Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril was in Haiti last month along with retired Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch in an effort to help improve children's lives.

Cliff Avril, Marshawn Lynch and other NFL players flew to Haiti to help rebuild an elementary school, host a mobile medical clinic and a football camp, with the help of international charity organization, Free the Children.

Cliff Avril hadn't been back to his parents' home country in more than a decade, but last month, along with retired Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks defensive end ventured to Haiti to help improve the lives of children by rebuilding an elementary school, hosting a mobile medical clinic and football camp in a trip arranged through Free the Children

Avril recapped his time in Haiti during a Tuesday interview with ESPN.  

"I just thought it was about time for me to do something out there," said Avril, 30, whose father emigrated from Haiti in 1982, four years before Avril was born. "I've been in the League going on nine years and I've done a lot of things back at home in Jacksonville and I just felt like it was about time to take it back to where my parents come from and it's been so long since I've been to Haiti. I figured it'd be a cool time to do that and bring the sport of football out there as well."

The work Avril and Lynch took on aligned closely with the work each of their foundations are doing at home in the United States, with the Cliff Avril Family Foundation aiming to increase the awareness of Type 2 diabetes in youth while encouraging healthy living and Lynch's Fam 1st Family Foundation aiming to educate and empower underpriveleged young people. 

Cliff Avril, Marshawn Lynch and other NFL players flew to Haiti to help rebuild an elementary school, host a mobile medical clinic and a football camp, with the help of international charity organization, Free the Children. (Photo credit Manish Gosalia)

"Marshawn, he's just into giving back," Avril said. "He's been doing that all offseason, really. For him to want to take this trip with me, he actually put me in contact with some people out there before I started putting my trip together. He just has a giving heart and it was a no-brainer for him. Once I told him I was going, he was all in."

Avril and Lynch were joined in Haiti by fellow NFL players Stephen Tulloch, a linebacker for the Detroit Lions, and Gosder Cherilus, an offensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Avril said the group didn't discuss much football on their trip, but rather "how cool it is to be able to go out here and help these kids" in what's one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the Western Hemisphere.

"Man, it's very humbling," Avril said. "The things we take for granted here like having clean water, having bathrooms to bathe in and to use, they lack that. Even the school system, I'm building an elementary school out there as well, and again taking it for granted as far as having a place to come to actually get educated. The infrastructure that they're trying to learn in is completely different from what we're used to.

"Again, it's humbling and I'm just happy to be able to make these things happen."

Cliff Avril, Marshawn Lynch and other NFL players flew to Haiti to help rebuild an elementary school, host a mobile medical clinic and a football camp, with the help of international charity organization, Free the Children. (Photo credit Manish Gosalia)

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