Phoenix — After careful consideration, the Detroit Lions determined it was simply time to move on from veteran linebacker DeAndre Levy.
“We just, looking at his level of production the last two years and what we wanted to bring to the table with adding some youth, we felt it was the best decision for the team at that time,” general manager Bob Quinn said. “It was a tough decision. We didn’t really make that decision until a day or two until we ended up releasing him.”
Quinn insisted Levy’s social activism and willingness to criticize the league for protecting its players were in no way factors contributing to the linebacker’s release earlier this month.
“None whatsoever,” Quinn said. “This is what players do nowadays. Everybody has their personality; everyone has their social things they want to talk about and I have complete respect for that. It doesn’t matter who the player is, that’s not going to factor into our decision-making process.”
Quinn confirmed that the team didn’t make any effort to restructure Levy’s contract, reiterating the team simply wanted to get younger at the position.
Levy turned 30 this week and had missed most of the past two seasons with various leg injuries. In addition to Tahir Whitehead and second-year pro Antwione Williams, the Lions recently added Paul Worrilow, who will turn 27 in May, via free agency.
“I think he adds value in a base defense, he adds value in sub-defenses, he’s got a role in the kicking game,” Quinn said. “We’re going to throw him in the mix and see how it works out with the guys that we have and the guys that we might add. He’s not the total answer to everything we want, but we think he’s a really good signing we targeted really early on.”
Given the team’s lack of depth at linebacker, Quinn was asked if finding a dynamic playmaker at the position was a priority in the upcoming draft.
“It’s a need,” Quinn said. “We’ll see who is available when we’re picking. We have lots of needs and that’s one of them.”
There could be some options in the first round, where the Lions hold the 21st pick. Despite an altercation which resulted in him being sent home from the combine, Alabama’s Reuben Foster will likely to be off the board by the time the Lions are on the clock, but Temple’s Haason Reddick, Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham and Florida’s Jarrad Davis could all be available.