In a move that was a long time in coming, the Detroit Lions released running back Jahvid Best on Wednesday.
Best has not played since suffering a concussion in October 2011. The Lions’ 2010 first-round pick made every effort to return to the NFL, but it was clear when he wasn’t able to play in the 2012 season that he would not be back.
Three reasons why this is a sad day for Best and the Lions:
1. Best suffered a serious concussion in college at Cal and some NFL teams would not draft him because of it. (The hit is on YouTube, but I wouldn’t recommend watching it.) It was his speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield that made him so attractive to Martin Mayhew and the Lions. He was expected to contribute in a major fashion to the Lions’ offense and to have a long and successful NFL career. In a statement, Best thanked the team and said, “I will always be a Lion.’’
2. Mayhew was fully expecting Best to return in 2012 so did not make alternative plans. Immediately after the season Mayhew said that was his biggest mistake for the 2012 season which ended with a 4-12 record. The Lions were sympathetic yet realistic in releasing Best on Wednesday. I would expect they won’t draft another player with a concussion history. He had remained on the roster which numbers 90 heading into training camp which starts next week. The Lions signed free agent Reggie Bush in March to fill the void left by Best.
3. Best will be remembered for what he could have been. He showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season although he was playing with a turf toe injury. Jahvid is as fine a person and professional as I have ever worked with,” Mayhew said in a statement. “He was the consummate teammate and always did everything asked of him. We wish Jahvid the very best in all his future endeavors and have no doubt that he will be successful in whatever path he chooses.”