FOX Sports Exclusive
Daily Buzz: Use your head, people!
The Detroit Lions released Javhid Best on Wednesday, ending the concussion-plagued running back’s time with the team, and, perhaps his days as a professional football player. But really, it felt like a move that was four years in the making.
After suffering one of the most startling concussions you’ll ever see in what turned out to be his final game at Cal, in 2009, Best was picked 30th overall in the 2010 draft.
Best had a productive rookie season as a part-time starter, and seemed to show no ill effects of that scary fall, picking up more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage with six touchdowns. And he was off to a great start in 2011 — one that included an electrifying 88-yard touchdown run on Monday Night Football — when a concussion ended his season after six games.
Lingering concussion symptoms kept Best off the field for the entire 2012 season, however, making his eventual release something of an inevitability, and Best’s statement following the move doesn’t necessarily sound like one made by a guy expecting to play football again:
"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."
Given the sports world’s evolving understanding of the seriousness of concussions, and its growing emphasis on player safety, it’s probably for the best that Best call it quits.
Even if he does have aspirations of a future in the league, it seems unlikely that an organization would take a chance on Best, given his history, and truthfully, it’s probably fair to ask whether a player with Best’s college concussion history would even be drafted at all today.
The issue of concussions and their lingering effects is one that isn’t sport-specific, though, and it’s important, if heartbreaking, to see Best join others across the landscape who are putting their health ahead of the games they love and the earning potential that comes with them.
Just this week, 25-year-old Montreal Canadiens center Blake Geoffrion retired, citing brain trauma related to a skull fracture sustained during an AHL game in November 2012. And last month, 35-year-old St. Louis Blues forward Andy McDonald retired due to concerns about his post-concussion symptoms.
"The hockey mentality is to always be tough and play through it," McDonald told FOX Sports Midwest. "But this part about head injuries and concussions, if players don't speak out, and help other players, and further awareness, then things are never going to change."
McDonald admits that, while he officially suffered five concussions as a player, the actual number is probably at least double that. And every year we hear more stories of players skirting the rules or downplaying the seriousness of their own injuries for the sake of staying on the field. But that kind of stubbornness isn’t helping anyone.
Most of us will never know what it’s like to play with multimillion dollar contracts on the line, so it’s tough to point fingers and tell athletes what they should be doing. But personal accountability during an athlete’s playing days is vital to making sure they can enjoy life after their careers are over, and it’s refreshing to see players like Best, Geoffrion and McDonald prioritize safety, even at the expense of their own earning potential.
Now, for some links:
• Metta World Peace tells TMZ he almost retired so he could drink Mudslides on the beach.
• While you watch the British Open, read this compelling golf story on former PGA tour pro Ken Green.
• There's a gender issue at the Open Championship.
• A New Jersey Devils prospect deals with a tragic past.
• Jon Hamm ribbed Dwight Howard during his ESPYs monologue:
• Manny Machado is doubles-trouble.
• He also avoided a court date over drag racing charges.
• Robbie Hummel is easy to root for as he tries to stick in the NBA.
• Oh great, another bowl game.
• Johnny Manziel got props from Drake for his handling of SEC Media Day:
You handled yourself well today. Proud of you brother! @JManziel2— Drizzy (@Drake) July 17, 2013
• Meanwhile, another SEC quarterback wants you to know why he’s not at the ESPYs:
You're right I'm not at the espy's! I don't have to be at a award show to know what my team did. I'm back at school working to get another— AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) July 18, 2013
• But maybe he’s just mad that his girlfriend was at the show without him:
Katherine Webb at the Espys pic.twitter.com/IjdefwsSAb— Greg Hill (@GregHillWAAF) July 18, 2013
• The Miami Heat thanked recently-amnestied Mike Miller with a full-page ad.
• Jason Grilli had a special guest at the All-Star Game.
• Bucs kicker out for the season after tearing his Achilles at a charity game.
• Here’s how you celebrate a wrestling win:
• Derek Lowe says he isn't retiring, but he is " officially no longer going to play the game." So yeah, he's retiring.
• The Grey Cup is a sellout, in case you had plans of snagging tickets.
• Elsewhere in the CFL, Edmonton Eskimos players from Florida reacted to the George Zimmerman verdict.
• One NBA star has a personal tie to the case:
Trayvon Martin trial was personal for Udonis Haslem. Knows Martin family, brought them down to use his seats for a Heat game.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 18, 2013
• Two parents in Texas are filing a $1 million lawsuit after their son was hurt by a line drive during a Little League game.
• And if the Titans win the Super Bowl, he’s going to smoke a big cigar:
• A Cuban national team pitcher defected during a team trip to Iowa.
• How would you fare in the toughest handcycling race on the planet?
• Kansas strength coach works with the Wounded Warrior Project.
• Here’s a guy hula hooping a 100-pound tractor tire: