March 09, 2017

DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Lions released linebacker DeAndre Levy as free agency opened Thursday, cutting ties with a veteran who had played in only six regular-season games since agreeing to a contract extension before the 2015 season.

Levy had a career-high 151 tackles (117 solo) in 2014, but he's been unable to contribute much since then. He played only one game in the 2015 season because of hip problems and was limited to five games - plus one in the playoffs - last season, when he dealt with knee problems.

The Lions announced Levy's departure as soon as teams could start signing free agents. Earlier in the day, the team announced it had re-signed defensive tackle Khyri Thornton, who was a restricted free agent.

Detroit also reached an agreement with defensive end Cornelius Washington, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. Washington played 15 games for Chicago last season, making two starts.

Levy was drafted by the Lions in the third round in 2009, and he was a major part of Detroit's defense as recently as 2015. His contract was set to expire at the end of that season, but he agreed to a four-year extension before it started, and it appeared the Lions had locked up one of their more popular and effective players.

But they had to make do without him for most of the next two seasons.

''On behalf of our entire organization, I would like to thank DeAndre for his many contributions to the Detroit Lions over the past eight seasons,'' general manager Bob Quinn said in a statement Thursday. ''While he excelled as a player during his time with us, DeAndre also had a genuine desire to make a difference off the field, investing a lot of his time and resources in social causes throughout the Detroit community. We wish DeAndre the very best in all his future endeavors.''

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