Jahvid Best hopes to play next year

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Lions running back Jahvid Best hasn’t given up hope that his NFL career can continue, despite multiple concussions that cut short his 2011 season and ended his 2012 season before it began.

Shortly after the Lions announced that Best won’t play this season, his agent, Tony Fleming, told the Detroit Free Press that Best isn’t giving up hope that he will eventually be medically cleared.

He obviously still wants to play, we’re just in a climate now in the NFL where everybody’s extra cautious,” Fleming said. “Everybody is concerned about Jahvid and his health and his future, so they’re just going to be very cautious and they’re not going to clear him until he’s ready.”

There were concerns about Best’s concussion history even before the Lions chose him in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. Best suffered two concussions in his final year at Cal, the second of which required him to be stretchered off the field and hospitalized. When the Lions shut Best down following his second concussion of the 2011 season, the concerns about his ability to play intensified.

So while Fleming says that he and Best are hopeful that he’ll eventually make his return, at this point it seems unlikely — considering all the caution about concussions in the NFL — that any doctor will clear him to play.

15 responses to “Jahvid Best hopes to play next year

  1. As a Lions fan it’s sad to say, but this situation has degraded to nothing more than a game of chicken between Best and the Lions over money.

    Best wants ever penny remaining on his contract and will keep saying he’s going to play next season rather than retire. The Lions don’t want Best to ever see the field again for his own good based on what all the doctors are saying, but don’t want to cut him while injured and have to pay the full year remaining on his rookie contract. They’d like him to just see the writing on the wall and retire, but Best has millions of reasons to keep trying to return.

  2. Is he able to keep any of his money? Is he getting paid currently? This is just a sad situation and I sure hope he’s being compensated currently… Not the Lions fault or really problem but it would mean a lot to the kid if he didn’t have to worry financially

  3. Some players are more susceptible to long term damage from concussions than others. It’s better that players who are susceptible to concussions not play so every player doesn’t get painted with the same broad brush.

  4. Yes, he gets paid for this. I think the team can reach an injury settlement in the off season, and let him go. Let some other team take the risk of letting him get further brain damage.

  5. I would advise using his downtime completing his college degree, if necessary, or taking classes to prepare him for life after football because that is coming much sooner than he thought it would. Besides, it would do him good to work on something productive instead of dwelling on his circumstances.

  6. The Lions could cut bait whenever. It is in their best interest to hang on to him though, in case he can return. As, of course, he’s dynamic and can change games quickly.

  7. The lions are doing best the favor, if they keep him under contract till next year he gets the 4 year min. league pension.

  8. Sad for best. It’s sad in general when so much talent is stopped by something so serious. I know he really just wants to play but he has many more years beyond the game to think about. Total bummer.

  9. As a Lions fan I don’t even consider him an asset to the team anymore. If he gets back on the field again I’ll be amazed. I read a rumor that the only reason they even kept up the “he could be cleared to play this season” routine was to make him qualify for the NFL Pension. I hope this is the case. Let him become eligible for that, give him a reasonable injury settlement that will let him put a trust aside for his potential future medical bills, and cut him loose.

    There’s almost 200 former NFL players suing the NFL over concussions right now. Let’s face it, Jahvid Best is the TEST CASE for how the NFL handles concussion prone players in the future. If Best or Austin Collie go out on the field again and get another one soon after returning to the field, it’s a giant “I told you so” for everyone suing the NFL. It’s just not good business to let Best back in again. It’s time that he moves on. I hope the only hesitation here is Detroit trying to do the right thing.

  10. This is not a game of chicken between Best and the Lions. This is a guy who has to face the pain of walking away from his life-long dream sitting right in front of him.

    I think seanx40 is correct … once Best accepts reality, that his career as a football player is over, the Lions will reach a settlement with him regarding what remains on his contract. Best’s pay for this year was $500K-ish. His pay next year is $800k-ish.

    According to MLive the league doctors were willing to clear him to play, but his personal physician is not. The reason the doctor gave was that the consequences of another concussion is not worth the risk.

    MLive has said a number of times that the off-the-record chatter is that the Lions kept Best this season knowing he was not going to play. By letting him get 3 years as an NFL player, it impacts the quality of retirement benefits he will get.

    It’s a sad situation for Best, but I think he’ll retire before training camp next year. The tough part is that none of these guys are ready for life after football – I think a reason Best is fighting retirement is because he doesn’t know what he’ll do.

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