Lions running back Jahvid Best said over the weekend that he isn’t worried about concussions ending his career.
There seem to be plenty of people worrying about that for him. Best has seen or spoken to many doctors since the concussion that ended his 2011 season and he continues to consult with them while waiting for the green light to resume his NFL career.
Commissioner Roger Goodell was at Lions camp on Thursday and said that the league is monitoring Best’s condition “very closely,” although he said that the league isn’t making any push to influence the date Best is cleared to return to football.
“It’s a medical decision,” Goodell said, via Anwar Richardson of MLive.com. “The doctors make those decisions, so he obviously is having difficulty recovering the concussion. They have to be very cautious in that approach, and make sure they’re seeing the appropriate doctors. Again, those are the decisions we want the medical people to make, not us. We’re not influencing those decisions.”
The NFL’s interest in Best’s condition isn’t surprising given how much attention concussions have received from the league and how many lawsuits they are currently dealing with on the topic. The amount of time that it has taken Best to get cleared and his history of concussions in college only make it more of interest to the league.
Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew said this week that the team expects Best to be cleared “eventually,” but offered no specific indication of when that clearance might come. Coach Jim Schwartz also shied away from specifics on Thursday, but gave a little bit more of an idea about the time frame that the Lions are operating under regarding Best.
“The only thing I will say is we’re measuring Jahvid in weeks, not days,” Schwartz said. “He’s not day-to-day A lot of these guys are day-to-day We’re measuring his progress in weeks. He’s doing very well. He’s working very, very hard. He’s in supreme condition, and I know this, when he’s cleared, he’s going to be tough to handle because he’ll be ready.”
If medical clearance keeps getting pushed back, the questions about Best’s fitness to ever return to football will grow louder and come more frequently.