The Detroit Lions announced Wednesday that they will be releasing the concussion plagued running back Jahvid Best after just three seasons of his NFL career. Playing in just 22 games, Best hasn’t played since 2011 due to concussions.
“I want to thank the Detroit Lions organization for drafting me and giving me an opportunity to fulfill my dream and play in the National Football League,” Best said in a statement released by the team. “My time as a member of the Lions was a very special time in my life. My teammates, the members of the organization, the Lions fans and the people of Detroit will hold a special place in my heart. I’ll always be a Lion.”
I have followed Best since his freshman season at the University of California where my uncle and I are season ticket holders. Best may have been the most exciting football player I have ever had the pleasure to watch on a regular basis coming through Cal. That’s on top of DeSean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch.
Whenever Best touched the ball, people held their breath. To illustrate further, it was like Barry Bonds at the plate–you knew the home run was coming. He would flat-out make people look silly, portraying moves that were Barry Sanders esque, using his speed and vision to move swiftly around defenders.
I was there in 2008 for his complete domination of Stanford for 201 yards, and for his follow-up the next week with a 311 yard game against Washington where he made guys fall from getting their ankles broken so badly. I was working on the sideline for his 186 yard game against Miami in the Emerald Bowl.
As a matter of fact, I vividly remember the moment Best’s athletic career changed. On his touchdown leap against Oregon State where he received a massive concussion, I remember saying under my breath, “please don’t get injured.” From where I sit, it literally happened right in front of me. One of my saddest moments as a sports fan.
A co-worker who played with Best at Salesian High School told me a while back that Best planned on retiring. If he does, I’d like to thank him for the excitement he brought to Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. I hope he does reemerge as an NFL back, but if not–thank you Jahvid, and happy trails.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonCX525