Ex-Lion Levy on knee: 'More damage than I was being told'

Former Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy had another surgery on his right knee this week as he continues to try to come back from a meniscus tear that cost him the majority of last season.

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 and captioning it "'your knee is fine,' they said."

"Still had the same issues emerge in March as from December/January," Levy said in an email to ESPN. "Turns out there was a little more damage than I was being told and there's no way I should've been back on the field last year."

In March, he said "hell no, I wasn't even close" to being fully healthy when he returned to the field.

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.

It was 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.

He was released at the start of the league year last month after missing most of the last two years with knee and hip injuries.

The 30-year-old linebacker told ESPN, "I'm very pleased about how things went" with the surgery and that "I'm glad to finally start the process to heal."

A message left for the Lions seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn said at the league meetings last month that the franchise did not offer him a pay cut option to stay -- something Levy initially told ESPN when he was released -- because the franchise wanted to get younger at the position.

Levy had been one of the top 4-3 linebackers in the NFL before his injuries -- making 151 tackles in 2014 and having six interceptions in 2013.