Lions running back Jahvid Best last played football on October 16, 2011. Some within the organization reportedly fear that will be the last time he ever plays.
Best has a history of concussions. And while some teams had him completely off the draft board in 2010, the Lions traded back into the bottom of round one to get him. It was a calculated risk, with a definite potential reward.
Best’s most recent concussion ended his season, only six days after he rushed for a career-high 163 yards in the team’s first Monday Night Football appearance since the dawn of the Millen era. And while Best has said he’ll “definitely” be back on the field in 2012, Anwar Richardson of MLive.com (via NFL.com) reports that “many within the organization” are concerned that he may not return, ever.
If that happens, it’s unfortunate. But it’s not surprising given the league’s new litigation-influenced sensitivity to concussions. Of all positions, running back is most akin to a giant magnet rolling through a warehouse full of anvils. By virtue of the punishment they routinely absorb, running backs will continue to suffer blows to the head, and every other part of their bodies.