Jahvid Best: Why Running Back Should Retire, Not Risk Further Concussions

Jeremy Sickel@https://twitter.com/JeremySickelContributor IIIOctober 15, 2012

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

Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best failed his neurological tests last week and is out for at least the 2012 season. The real question now is whether or not the third-year back should retire.

Head injuries have become serious business in the NFL. But the nature of the game will never allow for a full-proof system in preventing concussions on all levels from occurring.

Certain positions on the football field result in an increased level of violent contract. Running back is at the top of that list.

Instead of risking further damage and guaranteeing a more complicated way of life going forward, Jahvid Best really needs to spend the rest of this season and the offseason trying to determine how exactly to handle his situation.

What might help him out — or at least help him be at peace if he chooses to hang it up — is that it looks as though the Lions want Best to accrue that crucial third year of service time so he can have access to the NFL's pension.

There is no assurance that Best will even be able to make the choice to return to football on his own. He hasn't suited up in almost a year, so the damage to his brain must be a lot more severe than what fans are accustomed to seeing every week.

Players are removed from games after big hits more often now, in an attempt to locate future problems sooner. Repeat occurrences are also monitored in the same fashion.

Is it a smart choice for Best to subject himself to more contact when even the slightest strike might force him out? Or worse: A big collision that knocks him out permanently?

Opposing players aren't going to tiptoe around Best when he has the ball. Although some joke that the NFL is turning into flag football, it definitely still is quite the opposite.

If Best is indeed allowed to receive a pension from the league, the decision to watch the game he loves from the sidelines is the only one he should make.

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