By: Will Burchfield
DeAndre Levy’s career in Detroit has come to an unceremonious end.
After playing in just six games over the past two seasons, the 2014 second-team All-NFL linebacker was released on Thursday by the Lions.
Levy, formerly signed through 2019, was in line to make about $25 million over the next three seasons. He was also due $1.75 million of his 2017 base salary on Saturday. By designating him a post-June 1 cut, the Lions will save $5.8 million against the cap, although they won’t recoup that money until June.
Just last Wednesday, GM Bob Quinn said of Levy, “As of today, I feel like he’ll be back next year.”
As it turns out, the Lions were ready to part ways.
Levy’s departure leaves Detroit with four linebackers under contract for 2017: Tahir Whitehead, Antwione Williams, Thurston Armbrister and Paul Worrilow, who agreed to a deal with the team on Wednesday night.
It wasn’t long ago that Levy looked like he’d be fixture of the Lions’ defense for years to come. After finishing second in the NFL in tackles in 2014, he signed a four-year, $33 million extension with $20 million guaranteed.
Then he began to break down.
A hip injury limited him to one game in 2015. He recovered in the offseason, only to suffer a hamstring injury in the first game of 2016. That, coupled with a knee injury that he apparently sustained during rehab, kept him out until Week 14. All the while, Levy was grappling with concerns over his long-term health and his place within the sport.
“It’s frustrating,” he told Men’s Journal last year, “because you put your body on the line, and the people that you’re working to make money for, they prioritize profit over the health of their greatest assets, and as a player that’s troubling.”
Whether Levy resurfaces with another team remains to be seen. But Lions fans won’t have to question when, or if, he’ll suit up in Honolulu blue again.