Lions release former Cal star Jahvid Best

Lions release former Cal star Jahvid Best
July 17, 2013, 4:00 pm
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Jahvid Best missed 26 games in three NFL seasons following a serious head injury sustained in 2009 while at Cal. (AP)

After missing 26 games in three seasons, the Detroit Lions have announced the release of former Cal running back Jahvid Best.

After being selected with the 30th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the bulk of Best's time with the Lions was spent on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Best's promising career was sidelined by concussions. The troubles started in his junior year with the California Golden Bears.

On Nov. 7, 2009, the speedy running back left his feet at the goal line, was hit by a defender and launched head over heels into the end zone. He landed violently on his head and neck, immediately losing consciousness. Medical crews rushed to his aid, loaded him onto a stretcher, placed an oxygen mask over his mouth and covered his body with a blanket.

Those who watched the play thought his career was over.

After being rushed to a nearby medical center, it was revealed that Best merely had a concussion. It looked like the talented Bay Area running back got lucky and that his future remained bright.

The terrifying moment that took place against Oregon St. in Berkeley appeared to be behind him when he was selected in the first round by the Lions.

It wasn't.

Best appeared in all 16 games of his rookie season. But in 2011, he missed 10 games after suffering another concussion and his entire 2012 season was lost while struggling with post-concussion syndrome.

On Wednesday, the Lions released the Vallejo native after he totaled 945 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons. And at age 24, Best's future as a professional football player remains uncertain. His story is yet another reminder that head trauma in football can't be taken lightly.

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