DeAndre Levy testifies Lions encouraged him not to talk about CTE

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Appearing before a congressional subcommittee on brain injuries in football, former NFL linebacker DeAndre Levy testified the Lions tried to silence him from speaking publicly about CTE.

“The moment I said anything about it, I had two calls telling me I shouldn’t talk about it,” Levy told the committee, via Kyle Meinke of mlive.com. “I don’t know if it was because it was CTE, or if it was because it’s just the general NFL rule of, like, only football. Only talk about football, only think about football. I posted simply the research . . . and I was told not to talk about it the first day it was out. And I’m just, like, you know, it could have just been locker room culture. Nobody wants to talk about anything other than football. But it didn’t sit well with me when I’m talking about brain injuries.

“It’s my brain. It’s not my shoulder; it’s my brain. It controls everything I do; it controls everything we think, everything we feel. And if I don’t have the right to speak about that as a player, I think it really speaks about the culture of the NFL, of what those conversations are. I think that’s indicative of the conversations that we don’t hear. The closed-door conversations between owners. They still are trying to find ways to silence us.”

Levy never mentioned the Ford family by name during his congressional subcommittee appearance but criticized ownership for failing to properly educate players about the long-term risks of brain injuries.

“I don’t think the owners are in touch with it,” Levy said. “It’s a business. We’re a number. Our brains and bodies are disposable. I can’t speak for every team — I’ve only been with one team — but, I mean, I never sat down and talked with the owner. So there’s no connection [with] the players. Right now, we’re the only ones that will even care about the issue.” 

Levy played eight seasons in the NFL after the Lions made him a third-round pick, with his final five games coming last season. The Lions cut him in March, and he filed a grievance against the team seeking to recoup a $1.75 million injury guarantee, saying his knee isn’t healthy.

UPDATE 8:29 P.M. ET: The Lions said in a statement, “We are aware of his comments, and we strongly disagree with his claim that anyone from our organization tried to silence him.”

17 responses to “DeAndre Levy testifies Lions encouraged him not to talk about CTE

  1. Levy really was a special linebacker for a few years, one of the best in the league in fact. I’m not sure how many people will remember that, but he was pretty good. He’s been talking a lot lately, I can’t vouch for all of his comments since, but I can vouch for his play.

  2. This is another reason ratings are down 8% from last year(an election year that pummeled ratings). I wonder why PFT still writes that ratings are “rebounding” from last year. interesting.

  3. These “fans” are just mad because Levy is one of the few players that cared about his long term health.

    To bad they don’t understand how serious CTE is.

  4. He was a player who appeared to be more passionate about everything except the actual game he was payed to play. That’s just how he came across, I’m not saying he was.

    In any event, dude was a straight up beast right up until he signed his extension. An injury took him out leaving Lions fans dreaming about what ifs, as usual…

  5. Levy may have been paid more money than any Lion in history for not playing football. Once he signed a big contract extension, he almost immediately every year went on IR.

  6. If he’s got such a clear recollection of the facts, his brain must be working fine. If his brain isn’t working, then maybe he’s not remembering the facts correctly. It’s either one or the other.

  7. Levy was well aware of the CTE risk during his playing career, but decided to play anyway. He can talk all day about CTE, but the reality is, he made a voluntary decision to play pro football.

  8. How about we interview all retired football players, not only the one’s claiming to be hurt for life? How about interviewing Brad Culpepper, now an attorney in Tampa? He sued for worker’s comp. After getting a settlement, he ended up on one of those tv physically fit game shows showing no ill effects from playing. I bet there are a majority of players with little or no issues from playing.

  9. Levy had no interest in playing football after the $12 million signing bonus he received when he signed his extension . Levy is now looking for more money by filing a grievance to recover another $1.75 for not playing .Bottom line Levy was smart enough to make a lot of money for doing absolutely nothing so not getting his complaint that he was somehow taken advantage of . Finding it hard to believe that any player needed his team to tell them that playing football could be harmful to their health considering the players feel the negative impact everyday they play .All this being the said the real culprit in the CTE issue is the NFLPA for failing to force the NFL to address the long term issues that go along with playing football years ago in CBA negotiations .

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