Lions part ways with concussion plagued RB Jahvid Best
"I want to thank the Detroit Lions organization for drafting me and giving me an opportunity to fulfill my dream and play in the National Football League," Best said in a statement released through the team. “My time as a member of the Lions was a very special time in my life.”
“My teammates, the members of the organization, the Lions fans and the people of Detroit will hold a special place in my heart,” continued Best. “I'll always be a Lion."
When the Lions traded up to the 30th overall spot in the 2010 NFL draft to select Best out of California, they were expecting to get a running back who was known as a dynamic playmaker during his college career. The Detroit Lions were hoping his explosiveness would provide them with the offensive punch that could help Mathew Stafford develop as a quarterback and for wideout Calvin Johnson to increase his production. While no one questioned Best’s running ability, inconsistency due to concussion injuries held him back from leaving his mark on the Lions’ offense.
Best had a 1,000-yard season (555 rushing yards and 487 receiving yards) en route to six touchdowns as a rookie. However, he appeared in only six games the following season, and ended up on the injured reserve after suffering a concussion in the loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The 24-year-old Best later confirmed that it was the third concussion of his football career. He entered the NFL having suffered at least one concussion during his final season at California. Best also missed time due to a concussion during the 2011 preseason. He returned from the head injury only to be sent back to the sidelines with another concussion on October 16, which ultimately ended his Lions career.
Best hasn’t appeared in an NFL games ever since that October 2011 concussion. The Lions initially held out hope that he would be able to return to the field but doctors never cleared him for contact. Best finished his Lions career running for 945 yards and six touchdowns on 255 carries, while also recording 85 receptions for 774 yards and three touchdowns over 22 games.
"Jahvid is as fine a person and professional as I have ever worked with. He was the consummate teammate and always did everything asked of him,” said general manager Martin Mayhew. “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."
However, Best’s release didn’t come as a surprise since the Lions seemed ready to move on when they signed veteran running back Reggie Bush to a four-year contract during the offseason to boost their inconsistent running game. Best will continue to count about $1.1 million against the salary cap over the next two seasons, but his release will save the Lions more than $800,000 in the 2013 season and $1.1 million the following year.