Jahvid Best: Lions Running Back Still Not Cleared to Play

David ProctorContributor IIIApril 14, 2012

DETROIT - OCTOBER 16:  Jahvid Best #44 of the Detroit Lions runs for a 36 yard gain after a short pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 during the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Six months after sustaining his latest concussion, Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best is still not cleared for physical contact.

Per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Best has been working out on his own since December and will participate in the Lions’ offseason program—at least until they return to the field.

At that point, Best will be reevaluated by an independent neurologist. The Lions are optimistic that Best will be ready to take the field in time for the coach-assisted organized team activities, expected to begin in early May.

Still, Best’s history with concussions should have Lions fans worried. The former first-round pick has dealt with three concussions in as many years. Although he undoubtedly makes the lineup more explosive, could the Lions be looking for his long-term replacement?

The team currently has running backs Mikel Leshoure and Kevin Smith under contract, but both have large question marks of their own. Leshoure finds himself facing felony drug charges and Smith, although serviceable, lacks the explosiveness that Best provides. The Lions could look to draft someone like LaMichael James out of Oregon in a mid-round.

What do you think? Should the Lions draft a running back?