The Detroit Lions announced Wednesday that they have released running back Jahvid Best, the former Cal star whose career was stalled by concussions.
Best played in 22 games, starting 15, for the Lions after being drafted by the team 30th overall in the 2010 draft. He saw action in all 16 games as a rookie in 2010, rushing for 1,000-plus yards and six touchdowns, but was limited to only six games in 2011 after what he said was the third concussion of his football career.
He hasn't played since a loss to San Francisco in 2011. Best also missed time during the preseason that year because of a concussion.
Best was placed on the physically unable to perform list last August and missed the entire 2012 season.
A prize recruit out of Salesian High in Richmond, Best rose to fame at Cal as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate, but saw his final season end early due to a frightening injury in a game against Oregon State in which he was hit in midair and landed in the end zone on the back of his head and lost consciousness, then was hospitalized.
"Jahvid is as fine a person and professional as I have ever worked with," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said in a statement by the Lions. "He was the consummate teammate and always did everything asked of him. We wish Jahvid the very best in all his future endeavors and have no doubt that he will be successful in whatever path he chooses."
Detroit signed Reggie Bush in the offseason to help boost its inconsistent running game.
Best's release by the Lions had been anticipated, given the length of time he had spent away from the playing field.
"I guess it's understandable on the one hand ... but it's also disappointing because it really hits home that his medical condition has seriously affected his professional career," Chad Nightingale, Best's coach at Salesian, told this newspaper.
"I want to thank the Detroit Lions organization for drafting me and giving me an opportunity to fulfill my dream and play in
the National Football League," Best said in the team's release. "My time as a member of the Lions was a very special time in my life. My teammates, the members of the organization, the Lions fans and the people of Detroit will hold a special place in my heart. I'll always be a Lion."
The Associated Press and Bay Area News Group staff writer Phil Jensen contributed to this report.