Former Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy has filed a grievance against the team, according to a report from ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. The grievance stems from the way Levy was treated for his knee injury.
Levy injured his knee in the season opener against the Colts last year, resulting in surgery. The injury caused Levy to miss the next 11 games. His party alleges that the Lions hurried him back into the lineup and set back the timeline for his full recovery.
“I feel like it could have been avoided if I was shut down earlier,” Levy told ESPN, referring to the second surgery Levy had on his knee this offseason. “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.”
Levy also accuses the Lions of falsely passing his physical examination days before releasing him in March. “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 said.
NFL teams are not allowed to cut a player outright if he cannot pass a physical. The team must place a veteran like Levy on injured reserve, then can release him if the two parties agree on an injury settlement. The Lions never came to such an agreement with Levy. As Rothstein points out in his article, this is not an uncommon grievance in the NFL.
Rothstein notes that Levy has been contacted by five or six teams now that he’s a free agent. However, he has had to tell these teams that the second surgery has set back his recovery, and he won’t be cleared until November or December.
In the end, this ordeal has soured Levy’s already tenuous relationship with NFL doctors. Throughout his playing career, Levy never shied from taking the NFL to task over health-related issues.
Levy has voiced his displeasure on the league’s reaction to CTE studies and NFL doctors’ reliance on addictive painkillers.
Now it seems his relationship with NFL physicians is at a place beyond repair. “I think right now, I'd be foolish, at this point in my career, to put my health in the well-being of NFL doctors,” Levy said.