Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best has battled concussions in his NFL career. His teammate Nate Burleson has pleaded publicly for his teammate and friend to retire for his health’s sake. But it’s so hard to walk away from a career in the NFL, and Best doesn’t seem ready to walk away yet.
Best hasn’t even played since November of the 2011 season.
And it’s not just teammates encouraging him to retire, neurologists won’t clear him to play.
“And just being a guy that loves him as an individual vs. him, as a player, I just told him, ‘Honestly I’d rather see you healthy at 65 than healthy at 25,’ ” Burleson said.
“I just told him that if it was me I would shut it down,” Burleson added. “You’ve got so much more life to live, and even though I would love to have you on the field, I don’t want it to risk anything that has to do with your brain or possibly your post career.”
But despite all that, Best says he is holding onto hope he can return to the NFL in a interview on WNST in Baltimore.
“Yes, it’s still in the balance but I have a positive outlook on things,” Best said about his career being in the balance, via SRI. “I’m hoping for the best. I will be ready if I get the chance.”
“The biggest thing for me is, I’m 24 years old. I’m in the best physical condition that I have ever been in my life. I can’t not try,” Best said. “I’m definitely going to keep myself in perfect shape and keep trying to get back on the field. When I get my chance I will be ready.”
But Best says rule changes like the controversial “helmet rule” won’t ultimately protect the players, and nothing will.
“No, you can’t. That’s the way the sport was created. You can’t stop it from happening,” Best said. “Technique lessens the chances of having a concussion but I’ve been playing football since my freshman year of high school and I’ve had three concussions. That’s a lot of football and that’s a lot of hits and there are only three. It does happen often but it doesn’t happen a lot.”
But he hopes he gets the chance to finish his career the way he had hoped.
“I think it’s a little bit of everything, but I think the biggest part is your mental and emotional side. You always have to have a positive outlook on things. You can’t be negative. If you think negatively then it will turn into reality. Gotta have a positive outlook and just take it one day at a time. Just keep focusing on getting better and things will take care of themselves. Just gotta keep looking at the big picture.”