Three years ago the Detroit Lions traded up for the sparkplug they had been lacking since Barry Sanders. California Golden Bear Jahvid Best dropped to pick 30 in the 2010 NFL draft because of durability concerns. Concussions had plagued the tiny track star in his collegiate career, but his skill was salivating enough for the Lions to take a chance.
After gaining over a thousand yards from scrimmage with six touchdowns while dealing with a lingering turf toe injury in his rookie season, Best’s feet caught fire early in 2011. In weeks 1 and 2 the multi-purpose back combined for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns, and in week 5 he gave us his most memorable game yet.
In the Lions’ return to Monday Night Football against the division rival Chicago Bears Best broke away uncontested for 88 yards to paydirt which gave the team an 11 point cushion in the 3rd quarter. The run became the 2nd longest in franchise history and led to securing the team’s first 5-0 start since 1980. However, tragedy would soon strike.
The week following Best’s finest performance he would go onto amass over a hundred yards for the final time in a heartbreaking loss to the 49ers, 25-19. After the game the Lions revealed Best was feeling concussion-like symptoms. The wooziness proved to be Best’s 2nd concussion of the year, but this time his recovery was highly questionable.To this day we wait for Best to be cleared again, but this is one battle worth a Lions’ loss. At this point Jahvid’s well-being is at stake, and no game should jeopardize a life. The Detroit Lions cut their tailback on Wednesday.
The team’s recent struggles can be correlated to the loss of Best as it has posted a disappointing 9-22 record since his last down. Recent acquisition, Reggie Bush, will try to pick up Best’s blazing torch and run the Lions back into contender relevancy.
While Bush is elusive with good speed, he lacks the elite bolt to the hole Best provided and is four years his senior in a young back’s league. Best possessed a new-era type quickness demonstrated by the likes of contemporary speedsters Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson who have gone on to post quite impressive numbers.
Sadly, we only got to see Best at his best a few times in his plagued career with Detroit. Fans held out hope for more than a year waiting and wishing for Jahvid to return better than ever. It’s a shame respectable runs often end sooner than we’d like them too, even to the best of us.