Former Lions RB Jahvid Best trying to make St. Lucia Olympic team (Shutdown Corner)

Running back Jahvid Best hasn’t been on an NFL roster since 2012, after spending three seasons with the Detroit Lions. But now he’s in training for a different pursuit. A first-round draft pick in 2010, Best’s football career was derailed by concussions; he suffered four in three years, including two in his final year at Cal and two during the 2011 season. He hasn’t played a snap since Week 6 of that season, against the San Francisco 49ers, when he had 110 yards from scrimmage but also suffered another concussion. Now 27, Best was a California state champion in the 100 meters at Salesian High School, and finished second in the 200 meters in an impressive 20.65 seconds. He’s been in training full-time since Jan. 2015, and works out of ALTIS in Phoenix, an elite facility for track and field athletes. Best is likely a longshot to make the U.S. team, but Best’s father David is from St. Lucia, the small island nation in the Caribbean. Best isn’t a citizen of the country yet, and has visited twice, most recently in 2012, but seems determined to represent the nation of his father’s birth. “I just want to bring pride to Saint Lucia , to the Olympic team, to the sport of athletics. I want to carry the flag around the track and make my family and country proud. I will be seeking a place on the team, representing my country would mean a lot to me, and to my family.” But citizenship isn’t Best’s only challenge. He also has to run the Olympic qualifying minimum standard of 10.16 seconds in the 100, which he did last month at the Arnie Robinson Invitational in California, a personal-best time for him; he also must run in a meet on the island. The national championships are June 25-26. Though so far he’s only visited twice, Best told the St. Lucia News he is proud of his roots; he has a tattoo of the island on his left arm, and has heard many stories of his father and aunts and uncles (his father is one of seven children) growing up in the town of La Clery, the men playing cricket and soccer. While his 10.16 last month is a quite respectable on the world stage, if he gets to go to the Olympics, Best will have to continue to lower his time to advance through the competition. He knows what’s necessary, and the work that has to be done. “I never look too far into the future. So as far as sub-10 talk or expectations I can’t say. I’m just focused on getting better every single day,” Best said. “I’m a hard worker and I know there’s room for improvement. How much room is to be determined, but whatever room there is I will find it.”

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