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Detroit Lions: Silence About Jahvid Best's Status a Cause for Concern

DETROIT - OCTOBER 16: Jahvid Best #44 of the Detroit Lions watches the action from the bench 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
Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2012

This morning, I mentioned an article by Anwar Richardson on MLive.com, which stated that Best's status for next week's Training Camp remains up in the air.

Lions fans should worry.

We're closing in on a year from the first of two concussions Best suffered in 2011 and Best isn't officially cleared.

He said he'd be ready to go by camp and had not felt any concussions since 2011, but while he was supposed to visit a doctor to get final clearance, there hasn't been word and Richardson states that not only is there no word from Best's camp nor from the team.

As Richardson says it might mean nothing. It could just be the team or Best will announce it at camp. I hope that is the case.

However, I can't help but think that, if he were cleared, people would be shouting it from the rooftops. That after all the doubt (and doubters) that have been talking for months, it would be a perfect time for a 'take that'.

Maybe they feel that moment will feel better when camp starts.

I don't know though.

You know what this reminds me of?

Nick Collins.

Now, I know they are two very different injuries and the Packers were on the record as hesitant in general about letting Collins play.

What really struck me though, is the delaying by Collins, of seeing the doctor who would ultimately say yes or no. Every week it seemed as if there was another 'Collins hasn't seen the physician yet' story. Every week I found myself wondering if Collins was delaying because of bad news he knew, at his heart, was coming.

It's pure speculation, sure. Just something that the resounding silence brings up.

If Best isn't cleared, there are two things the Lions have to consider.

First, what do you do in week one?

You'd better be very certain Kevin Smith is ready. Smith is a great back for about 75% of the season (at most) before he gets banged up.

So he should be fine until Mikel Leshoure gets back after his suspension and/or Best is available.

Even if Best is down for a long time, Smith will match up nicely with Leshoure and, like Best, probably be better for splitting the carries.

The Lions would probably be fine this season—there might be a minor hiccup or stumble at first but for the most part the overall impact will be negligible.

I like Best, he'd be a more dynamic aspect than Smith but the offense would be just fine.

The second, and larger issue is whether Best is safe to play.

As we learn more and more about the long term impact of concussions, teams and players need to share responsibilities for what that means.

A few years ago, Brian Westbrook's career ended because of a severe concussion. That was a choice the Eagles and Westbrook made. the team wanted him back. He wanted to play. It was wiser for them both to pass on it.

If Best is still not cleared to play a year later, both he and the organization should take a hard look at what that could mean for him not this year but years from now.

I'm not saying he shouldn't play—he's a grown man. He can make those choices.

They just might be very tough ones to make.

Like I said, I've been hoping Best would be fine. I was confident of it a few weeks ago.

Now the resounding silence makes me nervous.

Let's hope he shows up and laughs at guys like me on day one of camp.

 

Check out the B/R NFC North Facebook page - like us and keep up with everything NFC North on Bleacher Report! Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda

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