Detroit Lions linebackers DeAndre Levy, from left, Stephen Tulloch and Tahir Whitehead lineup during NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya
August 04, 2015

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) DeAndre Levy's career-best production last season has the Detroit Lions hoping to come to an agreement that would keep him with the team beyond 2015.

General manager Martin Mayhew confirmed Tuesday that the Lions are still negotiating with the 28-year-old linebacker, whose contract is up at the end of the season. In 2014 Levy made a career-high 151 tackles (117 solo), had a career-high 2.5 sacks and intercepted a pass.

''He's a heck of a football player, he's a playmaker on our defense, versus the run and the pass,'' Mayhew said. ''The guy's an impact player. We definitely want to keep him on our defense, very important for our football team. His leadership is also excellent, professional in every sense of the word. He adds a lot of value to us, and one of our own guys so we want to keep him around.''

Last year Mayhew put contract talks with Ndamukong Suh on hold once training camp started, and Suh eventually left for Miami. Things are different with Levy, the Lions' third-round pick in 2009.

''I think we'll decide it as we go,'' Mayhew said. ''If we continue to make progress, then we'll talk.''

Levy said he's not worried about his contract situation.

''The entire offseason my intention was to play this season out. It wasn't ever worrying about a contract, it was always preparing for this season, getting ready,'' Levy said. ''When training camp starts, I don't think about anything else.''

Coach Jim Caldwell said no player is ever a finished product, but he's hard-pressed to find areas where Levy must improve.

''We like him to do much of the same as he's been doing,'' Caldwell said. ''He's one of those guys that a mark of a true leader is a man that can lead himself. He can lead himself. I think he sets a great standard for us. So what he's been doing has been outstanding. He helps us rise to a little different level defensively.''

Levy surprised fans and Lions' management over the offseason with Instagram photos of him wing-walking on a biplane.

According to Levy's Instagram, he has gone sledding on an active volcano, ridden horses in exotic locations, hiked and slept on top of a cold mountain and saved a woman from a rushing river.

Yet he said his favorite activity has been wing-walking.

''Nothing else comes close,'' Levy said. ''Everything else is downhill from there. Wing-walking, there's nothing like it.''

What is the front office's official position on Levy's offseason activities?

''The language is in his contract as to what is allowed and what is not allowed, and I've had talks with DeAndre about off the field,'' Mayhew said. ''He has to live his own life, I can't dictate that for him, but he knows the repercussions of things.''

Levy joked that he would re-sign if Mayhew would try wing-walking with him.

Levy may go right up to the edge, but he knows what is at stake with his adventures.

''There's always something more to do,'' Levy said. ''I try to narrow it in and not get too crazy. Gotta balance that preparing for OTAs, preparing for the season. I try to get it out of the way early and know that later down the line when football isn't my No. 1 priority I'll be able to do whatever.''

NOTE: The Lions claimed former Michigan State defensive lineman Jerel Worthy off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs and signed undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Ethan Davis. Linebacker Jerrell Harris was released.

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