Rehabbing Lions LB DeAndre Levy back on the field for OTAs

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Linebacker DeAndre Levy was back on the field Thursday, participating almost fully in the Detroit Lions' organized team activities after missing all but a half of one game of last season with a hip injury.

He was running around, hitting sleds and even participating in some team drills, though there is no hitting allowed in OTAs. "That's the next step," Levy said.

Levy said he is still rehabbing but expects to be cleared to fully hit by the time training camp begins and should be ready for the season opener against Indianapolis on Sept. 11.

After being one of the leading tacklers in the league in 2014 with 151 and signing a four-year, $33 million extension in training camp last season, he couldn't play in 2015, had surgery and spent the rest of the time trying to get back to his old form.

Levy said he had no concerns about how his body will hold up and that he is ready to go. He said the biggest thing is getting reps again.

"Right now I just have to retrain my eyes a little bit being out for a while," Levy said. "We only had three practices, no pads, so you can't really tell much. I think, the team, we started off slow and picked it up towards the second half and played a little bit better on defense, and I think that helped us get some wins."

While Levy sat out last season, he also started to examine the NFL a bit more -- part of the reason he has been so critical of the league during the offseason, particularly when it comes to CTE and brain injuries. He said he's heard from other players since taking to Instagram and writing separate emails explaining why he was taking a stand to ESPN.com and the Detroit Free Press and that he has had "nothing but good support from them."

"It's about educating the players and giving the players another voice other than the league," Levy said. "Not just for myself but for the next round of players, the little kids that are thinking of playing and the parents who don't want to sign their kids up. "The NFL's voice isn't trusted, so, you know, as players I think it's our responsibility to give people the truth."