Oct 10, 2011; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best (44) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions' Release of Jahvid Best Leads to Thoughts of What Might Have Been

Everyone knew it would happen eventually and today the Detroit Lions made it official as Jahvid Best is no longer part of the team. Best thanked the team and the fans through the team’s official website:

“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. “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.”

It’s hard not to look back at Best’s short career with the Lions and not wonder what could have been. After an up and down rookie year in which he battled turf toe injuries on both feet, Best returned for his second year and showed exactly why the Lions traded up into the first round to secure his services.

The Lions got off to a fast 5-0 start to the 2011 season and Best was a huge part of the Lions offense taking a step forward in becoming one of the league’s most prolific. There may be no more perfect clip to put it all into perspective than this 88-yard scamper against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.

The entire night signaled the rebirth of Detroit Lions football. In front of a national audience Best was dynamic in helping the Lions secure their fifth win in as many games. At the time, it looked like the Lions’ gamble on Best, who had problems with concussions at Cal, might pay off.

As it turned out, that game against the Bears was the second to last he would ever play for the Lions. A week later best suffered a concussion in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers and he hasn’t played since. And, frankly, the Lions haven’t been the same since. Sure, they still went on to clinch their first playoff berth since 1999 but went just 5-5 to close out the regular season without Best.

The Lions’ disastrous season in 2012 can, in part, be blamed on the organization’s belief that Best might return to the field. The dimension Best brought to the offense was clear through the six games he played in 2011 but the Lions did not have an alternative in place last season.

In adding Reggie Bush in the offseason, the Lions figuratively closed the book on Jahvid Best. Today, that book was officially closed and our hearty thanks and well wishes for the future go out to Jahvid.

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