ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best is still not cleared to play.
Best spent the first six weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list, but he's eligible to return now. Best hasn't played since last October because of concussion problems, and his future remains uncertain after general manager Martin Mayhew said Monday night he can't come back yet.
"After today's consultation with medical experts, including representatives from our medical and training staffs, it has been determined that Jahvid will not be permitted to return to play at this time," Mayhew said in a statement. "Throughout this entire process we always have placed the highest priority on what is best for Jahvid from a health and safety standpoint. While today's decision is disappointing from a football perspective, we fully and entirely respect and support this recommendation."
Best was put on the reserve-PUP list, meaning he needed to miss the first six weeks of the season. That time period is now over, meaning the Lions have three weeks to start a three-week practice window for Best. If he's not active by the end of that practice window, he must sit out the rest of the season — so Detroit has a maximum of six weeks to bring Best back.
"Jahvid will continue to work with our medical and training staffs with the hope that he ultimately will be cleared to return to the playing field," Mayhew said.
Best was drafted by the Lions in the first round in 2010. He ran for 555 yards and caught 58 passes as a rookie, but he hasn't played since a loss to San Francisco last season. Best also missed time during the preseason last year because of a concussion, and when he was a college player at California, he missed a few games after a fall knocked him out and sent him to the hospital with a concussion and sore back.
When coach Jim Schwartz met with reporters earlier Monday, he said he wasn't sure what Best's status was at that point.
"You know, I've said this time and time again, it's different than any other injury," Schwartz said. "Any other injury you can try and put some kind of timetable on it, and that you can't. So we'll just listen to people that know what they're talking about and when we get a decision we'll let you know."
The Lions were otherwise upbeat Monday after beating Philadelphia 26-23 in overtime. Detroit (2-3) had lost three in a row, so it was a big win.
Wide receiver Nate Burleson talked a bit about restoring the team's swagger. The Lions weren't earning much respect after an offseason marred by arrests and off-field problems.
"We had a lot of discipline issues during the offseason, and we wanted to tighten up because the perception of this organization started to change — what we'd worked for was getting torn down and we wanted to be more of a mature team," Burleson said. "But finding that maturity off the field can't compromise who we are on the field, and who we are on the field are the bad guys.
"We're the ones that nobody wants to see succeed, and we like it that way. We play better that way. I think everybody took it in their own hands to be better men off the field, and that followed us a little bit on the field, but I think we're back where we need to be."
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