Detroit Lions

Former Lions LB DeAndre Levy says more was going on with injured knee than he was told

(Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Former Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy is recovering from a second surgery he underwent on his right knee this week.

Levy, who was released by the Lions at the start of the league year last month, missed 11 games last season after undergoing surgery to repair meniscus tears in his knee.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Levy said the latest procedure was “a retouch up on the meniscus and some other damage” he sustained.

Levy had been rehabbing the knee since the end of the season and anticipated as early as January that he might need another surgery. His opinion was based on that of four independent doctors he spoke with outside of the Detroit Lions’ team doctor.

Levy initially posted an Instagram story Wednesday, using a picture where he is in a full-length knee brace and on crutches with the caption: “‘your knee is fine,’ they said.”

“There was more going on with my knee than I was being told,” Levy told Birkett in a text message. “I can’t say what this means for free agency. My main focus is to actually heal and get healthy under trusted physicians.”

Levy said he had been unhappy with how the Lions handled the rash of injuries that kept him out much of the last two years.

Levy signed a four-year contract extension with the Lions in August of 2015 that made him the highest-paid 4-3 outside linebacker at the time. But he was only healthy enough to appear in just seven games over the last two seasons, including the playoffs, while the Lions remained mum about his injuries.

In 2015, Levy underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip after playing in just one game.

Last season Levy played in the season opener against Indianapolis — the game in which he injured the knee — and then missed the next three months. He played in the final five games of the season for the Lions, mostly on a limited basis, while knowing he was not quite at the level he was at before. But Detroit was in the playoff hunt and he wanted to be a part of that.

That’s why the Lions never placed him on injured reserve last season, the hope being he could return to help the franchise toward a playoff push. He started practicing in Week 11, but it took a while for him to get close enough to play in a game. He would practice well on Mondays, but by Friday, the knee felt “significantly worse,” he said, leading him to skip the game. Eventually, he returned to the field in Week 14 against Chicago on a limited snap count and ended up making 24 tackles last season, including the playoffs against Seattle.

Levy, who had fluid drained from his knee on at least one occasion after the season, had a $1.75 million injury guarantee in his contract for 2017. The Lions passed him on his physical before he was released.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn said at the NFL owners meetings last month that the Lions never approached Levy about taking a pay cut from his $5.75 million base salary because “we just felt like it was better off to kind of move in a different direction with younger players.”

“Looking at his level of production the last two years and compared to what we want to bring to the table with adding some youth, we felt like that was the best decision for the team at that time,” Quinn said. “It was a tough decision. We didn’t really make that decision until a day or two before we ended up releasing him. We thought long and hard about it. We just felt that was the best decision for the team.”

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