Best's sideline presence inspires teammates, fans
Injured tailback Jahvid Best spoke publicly Saturday for the first time since last weekend's scary fall against Oregon State, saying that he's feeling good and thanking fans "from around the world" for their support.
Best was interviewed briefly by Versus television just before kickoff and was an honorary captain for the coin toss.
"I'm doing pretty good," Best said. "It was an unfortunate incident that happened, but I'm feeling good. I'm feeling a lot better and I'm just looking forward to getting back on the field with my guys."
Best suffered a severe concussion during the game against the Beavers after he landed hard on his back and head at the end of a 7-yard touchdown run. Best was carted off the field in a stretcher and spent the night in a hospital.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford met with Best on Friday and asked him to be an honorary captain for the Bears final home game of the season.
"I had a meeting with him yesterday and asked him to go out to be an honorary captain because I thought it would be great for the fans to see him and kind of give his appreciation to him for our last home game," Tedford said. "I thought it was very important for the fans to see he was doing well."
Cal's Shane Vereen, one of Best's closest friends, rushed for 159 yards on 30 carries, including a 61-yard touchdown run to give Cal a 24-16 lead with 1:21 remaining.
Vereen paid tribute to Best on his eye black, wearing Best's No. 4 under one eye and his initials under the other.
"I talked to him quite a bit during the game," Vereen said. "It was big just to know his presence was felt. I think everyone had No. 4 on their minds."
There is no timetable for Best's return. He wore his jersey on the sideline and seemed engaged in the game, huddling with the running backs when the offense came off the field.
"It's been amazing, the amount of love and support I've been shown," Best said. "People came to visit me in the ER. I'm getting mail every day. I just got a lot of love."
— JONATHAN OKANES