NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions outside linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) looks on during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Former Detroit Lions LB DeAndry Levy still has not fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered in the first game of the 2016 season. Now, he’s filing an injury grievance against the team.

Levy suffered a torn meniscus and soon underwent surgery afterwards. He later returned to play in the final five games of the season. In April, he underwent further surgery to re-do the meniscus repair and to have cartilage removed. Since his second surgery, he’s split time between Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan rehabbing, and hasn’t yet begun running.

Though there isn’t an official date for the grievance hearing as of yet, it has been filed and “it’s in line to be processed.” The Lions offered no comment. 

Levy alleges that the Lions cleared him to play despite three doctors telling him his injury hadn’t fully healed yet.

“I figured there was something wrong because they passed me on a physical when I couldn’t even sit down to a chair or get into a linebacker stance at the time,” Levy told ESPN. “In my mind, I didn’t think about the legal contract part of it. I thought, this is f—ed up. I can’t get into position; how can I pass a physical? I didn’t know it was a physical the first time.” 

“I went in for just a follow-up for my knee, we go through the exam or whatever and I see he puts ‘pass’ on it for the physical. I’m like, ‘OK, this ain’t right.’ So I called my agent and I’m just now learning about the process.”

Levy let it be known he isn’t thrilled with the way the Lions handled the situation, especially given his many years of service to the team.

Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions outside linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) tackles Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) during the game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions outside linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) tackles Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) during the game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

“Just kind of, it’s frustrating, man, because the way I was trending, I just hit a wall and it’s like, I feel like it could have been avoided last year,” Levy said. “I feel like it could have been avoided if I was shut down earlier.

“The cartilage is wearing because my knee was jacked up. Like the cartilage is pretty much gone now because I’m out there, and you’re telling me I’m not going to make it worse, it’s just a psychological injury. And now I’m here, maybe missing another season because of it. And it’s frustrating, man. I was there for a decade and I never complained about any of my injuries.

“I’ve played through a ton of stuff that, the injury report probably tells half the story. I’m battling every day; I put in a lot of time, a lot of hours for nearly a decade and then you cut me and tell me I’m not hurt. And now I have to go through a legal process to prove that I was injured. It’s insulting, man. It kind of left a sour taste in my mouth.”

He also had a parting shot at the team medical staff.

“I’d be foolish, at this point in my career,” Levy said, “to put my health in the well-being of NFL doctors.”

Levy was originally a third round (76th overall) draft selection of the Lions in 2009 out of Wisconsin, and played eight seasons for the team. He was once considered to be one of the best 4-3 linebackers in the NFL, amassing six interceptions in 2013 and 151 tackles in 2014.