The Detroit Lions announced on Wednesday that they have released running back Jahvid Best, nearly two years since he last stepped foot on the field during a game.
"Jahvid is as fine a person and professional as I have ever worked with," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said in a statement released by the Lions. "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 was selected by the Lions out of Cal with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. In 16 games as a rookie, including nine starts, Best had 171 carries for 555 yards and four touchdowns on the ground while adding 58 receptions for 487 yards and two touchdowns out of the backfield.
Best opened the 2011 season as the Lions' starting running back and set a career-high with 163 rushing yards in a win over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. The following week against the San Francisco 49ers, Best suffered what was his second concussion of the 2011 season. Best has sustained at least four concussions, including one that ended his college career.
Though Best was able to participate in the team's offseason program in 2012, he was not cleared for contact and spent the 2012 regular season on the Lions' physically unable to perform list.
Considering how much awareness of head injuries has increased in recent years, the chances of another team giving medical clearance for Best to play would appear to be slim. Despite the long odds, the 24-year-old running back told Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com earlier this year that he would continue to try to revive his career.
"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," Best said after being named the Lions' recipient for the Ed Block Courage Award in 2012. "If they give me a chance, and they say it's safe for me to play, then I'll be out there."