The Detroit Lions have parted ways with running back Jahvid Best, releasing the fourth-year running back Wednesday.
It's a sad end to what looked like a promising career with the team after they made him a first-round draft pick (30th overall) in 2010. But concussions cut short his 2011 season after just six games and he has yet to receive medical clearance to return to the field. Best last played in an NFL game Oct. 16, 2011.
"Jahvid is as fine a person and professional as I have ever worked with," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said in a press release. "He was the consummate teammate and always did everything asked of him. We wish Jahvid the very best in all his future endeavors and have no doubt that he will be successful in whatever path he chooses."
Best played in 22 total games (15 starts) for the Lions. He played in all 16 games as a rookie in 2010 and finished that season with 555 rushing yards and four touchdowns with 487 receiving yards and two more scores.
During the first six games of the 2011 season, Best was averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 10.6 yards per reception and had scored three touchdowns, but he suffered his second concussion of the 2011 season – the first being in the preseason – in the second half against the 49ers when the back of his head hit the turf hard.
He was placed on injured reserve a few weeks later.
"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."
Best participated in the offseason training program in 2012, but never got clearance to return to full contact.
Mayhew admitted after last season that not having a Plan B for Best was one of his biggest regrets from last year.
"Probably the biggest mistake that I made last year was counting on Jahvid Best to come back," Mayhew said in January. "It's no knock on him. He did everything he could to get back.
"But based on the information that we were getting medically, I felt very comfortable that he was going to come back. We did not have a real plan to replace him."
Best was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list on Aug. 27, 2012 and missed the duration of the 2012 season.
Mayhew wasn't going to make the same mistake twice, which is why the team made
The Lions' offense wasn't the same without Best the rest of 2011 and all of last season, missing that speed element out of the backfield.
Best totaled 945 rushing yards on 255 carries and six touchdowns, and 85 receptions for 774 yards and three touchdowns in his career.
In 2012, he was selected as the recipient of the NFL's Ed Block Courage Award, which recognizes players who overcome setbacks during their football careers.
At that ceremony, Best told detroitlions.com that he'll never give up trying to get clearance to return to the game he loves.
"It's disappointing, but I'm a glass half-full kind of guy," Best said "To me it's just a minor setback and I'm still working and still staying ready because when I do get my chance I'm going to be ready.
"It doesn't matter how long it takes me, as long as my body is fresh, then I'm going to stay ready to play. If they give me a chance, and they say it's safe for me to play, then I'll be out there."