It has been a struggle for Jahvid Best for nearly a year now. The Detroit Lions running back electrified the offensive backfield with his incredible speed and quick agility. Best was the best compliment–pun intended– out of the backfield, to the Lions’ pass attack. Opposing defenses were forced to respect the run game because of the threat Best provided. This allowed Matthew Stafford a little more breathing room when it came to slinging the rock. Combined with his pass catching skills out of the backfield, he was always an undervalued safety valve when Stafford had no one–including Calvin Johnson–to throw too.
Well, all of that ended as the 5-0 Lions hosted the San Francisco 49ers. In the game, that bitterly ended 25-19 in favor of the Niners, the Lions lost their first game of the year. However, little did many know, the Lions lost something more than just the game, they lost Best for the remainder of the season.
Though remaining optimistic for much of the off-season, Best has been unable to come back to the Lions for the beginning of the season. First many hoped to see him by training camp, then by preseason. Finally players, fans, and management were hoping to see him for the start of the year. All hope was lost when the Lions placed Best on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Being placed on this list requires the player to miss the first six regular season games, regardless if they’re ready to go in week 2 or week 5.
According to Best, he is now symptom-free, something that has the Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew scratching his head.
“A little bit surprising,” he said, when being asked about the return of Best near training camp. Best is not dragging his feet in preparation either, he fully plans to be back in action soon, stating ”I’m still in tune with everything. I’m still going to all the meetings, still watching practice and everything. The only thing I can’t do is just suit up. When I get taken off the PUP, then I’ll be fine.”
With Mikel Leshoure missing the first two games of the regular season due to an off-season suspension, the Lions backfield will be shallow for the first two weeks. Hopefully with the addition of Leshoure in week 3, and the return of Best in week 7, the Lions will be able to keep their explosive offense intact. If Best were able to return in week 7, he would be eligible to play October 22nd, against the Chicago Bears, for Monday Night Football.
What’s a better game to make a season debut than that?
Last year Best averaged 4.6 yards per carry, with 2 touchdowns, while being highly effective in the pass game. Best averaged 10.6 yards per catch, with 27 receptions and 1 touchdown.
Jahvid Best is a former 2010 first round draft pick out of California University.