It’s no longer a question of whether Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best will play this season.
It’s now will he play next year … or ever again?
The Lions announced Friday that Best will remain on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list for the remainder of the season. He hasn’t played in more than a year because of concussion issues. Doctors still will not clear him for contact.
“There has been subsequent evaluation and consultation regarding Jahvid since our last update (October 15),” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said in a statement. “As has been the case throughout, we have deferred to the medical experts and support their current recommendation that Jahvid not return to the field this season.
“Javhid’s approach to this situation and his adherence to the process and protocol have been exemplary. No one has worked harder or shown more dedication than Jahvid has over the past year. As disappointing as this decision is for us and Jahvid, we do believe it is in his long-term best interest.”
Best, a second-round pick in 2010 from the University of California, had 945 rushing yards and 774 receiving yards — along with scoring nine touchdowns — in 21 games over his first two years in the NFL.
Known for his electrifying speed, Best (5-foot-10, 199 pounds) scored five touchdowns in his first two games as a rookie with the Lions. He then rushed for a career-best 163 yards — including an 88-yard touchdown — in a Monday night victory over Chicago last season. That was his second-to-last game. He suffered another concussion six days later at San Francisco that ended the 2011 season and possibly his career.
There was hope he would be cleared to return during training camp this year, but Best never received the go-ahead from a large group of doctors closely monitoring his case.
Best’s head injuries go back to his college days at Cal. He suffered a severe concussion in a violent collision in the end zone late in his senior year. In retrospect, that might have been the beginning of the end for him.
The Lions, desperately in need of speed at running back, chose to draft him anyway. It looked like a good decision when he was healthy and producing, but not so much anymore.