It happened today. Finally. The Detroit Lions released running back Jahvid Best.
The Lions traded up to take Best 30th overall in the 2010 draft. The speedy back had 171 carries for 555 yards his rookie season, along with 58 receptions for 487 yards, despite being slowed by a turf toe injury.
The future looked bright, even though Best suffered a concussion in a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, a 30-28 Lions victory. Despite that setback, he started the first six games and was averaging 4.6 yards per carry with a long of 88 yards when he again suffered a concussion in his sixth start against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half. The Lions had won their first five games of the season.
The Lions would win just five of their remaining games in 2011 to finish with a 10-6 record and make a playoff appearance for the first time in twelve years, but lost that Wildcard game to the New Orleans Saints.
That was the end as we know it, it just took us since that day on October 16th back in 2011 to find out.
Best tried to get medical clearance for contact to return to the Lions in October of 2012, but didn’t get it. Many thought at that time that the NFL, under the pressure of several thousand law suits, was using Best as their new concussion ‘poster child‘, and there was no way he was going to be allowed to return to the field.
Best spent last season on injured reserve, a move that didn’t help him accrue any time. Some thought the Lions were keeping him around to help him get his veteran status and benefits, but they genuinely thought he might be able to return to the field. The Lions offense struggled, as Lions general manager Martin Mayhew had made no move to acquire another back that could fill the role Best had filled.
Mayhew still had to be hoping Best would return this season, but hedged his bets with the signing of free agent Reggie Bush, a veteran back that could fill the vacant role perfectly.
Mayhew released the following statement on Best:
“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. 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.”
Best released the following statement through the team:
“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. 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. I’ll always be a Lion.”
His release saves the Lions almost $2 million over the next two seasons against the salary cap. I think most fans can agree with me when I say that this move also saves a potential severe injury to Best.
From what I understand, Best still suffers from memory loss at times, so it’s probably a good thing he will be done with football.
- Detroit Lions announce that they have released RB Jahvid Best (prod.www.lions.clubs.nfl.com)
- O’Hara: Jahvid Best will be remembered for what kind of player he might have been (prod.www.lions.clubs.nfl.com)
- Detroit Lions’ Release of Jahvid Best Leads to Thoughts of What Might Have Been (sidelionreport.com)
- Lions release RB Jahvid Best (prideofdetroit.com)