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Published: Friday, 8/13/2010

Best's all-around skills impressing Lions

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - The Detroit Lions knew they were getting a talented runner when they drafted Jahvid Best late in April's first round.

They are starting to discover they have gotten more than that.

Best, selected 30th overall out of California, has impressed coaches and teammates with his blocking and receiving ability.

Best never caught more than 27 passes in any of his three seasons with the Golden Bears but will get more chances in a Detroit offense that already features high-profile receivers like Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, and Tony Scheffler.

"Jahvid is going to be a great addition for us," quarterback Matt Stafford said. "He's very valuable in the passing game because you can get him isolated on a linebacker, and he's got great instincts as a receiver. We've got a lot of talented receivers, and he gives us another one."

While Stafford is happy to see how well Best is fitting into the passing game, he's surprised at how well he has picked up the blocking scheme. Not Best.

"I've always worked at catching the ball and blocking," he said. "I want to be ready for any role they need me to fill."

That's even true if they need him to imitate Stafford.

"I can sling the ball pretty well," Best said with a grin. "I've never played quarterback at any level in my life, but I've played some wildcat, so if they want me to throw a couple, I'll be ready."

With Kevin Smith unlikely to play in Pittsburgh as he recovers from the knee surgery that ended his 2009 season, Best is expected to get some playing time with Detroit's first-string offense.

"I know what I'm expected to do because we've worked on it in practice, but a game is different," he said. "The biggest adjustment is going to be the speed of the game. When everyone is going full-speed, it isn't like anything I've faced in college."

Best averaged 7.3 yards per carry in college and scored 29 rushing touchdowns, but he isn't focused on making spectacular plays in his preseason debut.

"My main goal is to be

assignment-perfect," he said. "I want to make sure that I do the right things on every play. The rest will come."

LATROBE, Pa. - Ben Roethlisberger is permitted to play in all the Pittsburgh Steelers' preseason games before his suspension begins. That doesn't mean he will.

Coach Mike Tomlin wouldn't say whether

Roethlisberger will take a few snaps with the starters during tomorrow night's exhibition game against Detroit - the first time the quarterback will appear before his home crowd since being suspended for six games.

Because the starters will play only eight to 12 plays, it is unlikely both Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich will get on the field, unless it's for a few downs apiece. Leftwich will be the starter when the season opens and Roethlisberger's suspension begins.



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