Former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best should be getting ready for training camp right now, but he isn’t because he retired from the NFL. When he left the league, Best cited concerns over the concussions he had in his career and decided to quit the game to avoid further injuries to the brain. Since Best left, the Lions have missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, but things seem to be improving, and the team has decent NFL odds of making the playoffs.
Since Best left the NFL, the former running back has been busy running track, which was something he did in college, and he will be competing at the Olympic Games in Rio in the 100m dash, while representing St. Lucia.
Best is an American citizen, but he is eligible to represent St. Lucia because his father was born there and holds dual citizenship. Best father being a citizen of St. Lucia, allows Best to represent the small nation in Rio.
By qualifying for the Olympics, Best became the first former NFL player to participate in the summer Olympics. Best might also be joined in Rio by New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner, who is considered to be a candidate to make the U.S. Rugby team.
While Best is excited to be going to the Olympics, he isn’t considered a medal candidate because he will be going up against the fastest men in the world. Men like Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and America’s Justin Gatlin, are considered the favorites to win the race.
Before he decided to play football, Best was a track star. The former running back was the 100m champion in California as a high school junior, and ran the distance in 10.31 seconds. He finished second in the 200m race, with a career best 20.65 seconds, which was the second best time recorded by an American high school student that year.
When Best enrolled in the University of California, he gave up on running track, but he was still one of the fastest people on the field and he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. His speed, as well as his instincts, led the Lions to move up the draft and select him 30th overall.
Although Best showed a lot of promise, the move to trade up the draft to select him did not work out for the Lions.
Best had already suffered two concussions in college, one against Oregon State and the other against Arizona State.
In his first season with the Lions, Best showed a lot of promise, but he also dealt with a nagging injury that limited his production on the field. Despite the injury, Best finished with 555 rushing yards, and 487 receiving yards.
In his second season, he was expected to be the team’s feature back, but he had another concussion in training camp, then another in October, ending his season.
By his third year, Best was still planning to continue his NFL career, but the Lions cut him before training camp, and he never played in the league again.
After his football career ended, Best decided to give track one more try, and was able to qualify for the Olympics. Even though he isn’t expected to win a medal, it is still an impressive feat.