<
>

'Very optimistic' on Lions' Jahvid Best

INDIANAPOLIS -- At various points in the offseason, we've wondered if the Detroit Lions should target tailback depth given the seeming uncertainty of their top two players at the position. The Lions have pulled some draft surprises in recent years, but Lions coach Jim Schwartz continued to express confidence Thursday morning that both Jahvid Best (concussions) and Mikel Leshoure (Achilles) will be available for the 2012 season.

Speaking on the opening day of media availability at the NFL combine, Schwartz stopped short of saying Best has been cleared for football activities. But he did say: "All of those guys are progressing well and we would anticipate having all those guys back. The only caveat is Jahvid, which we've always talked about. Concussions aren't like torn ACLs, or torn Achilles or rotator cuffs or hamstrings or anything else. That's a timetable that we'll still take a wait-and-see approach with. But all signs are good. We're very optimistic that he'll be back and contributing the way he was before he got injured."

Best's situation is difficult to project and interpret. Doctors can't clear him until his concussion symptoms subside and are absent for a period of time. Progress might be moving in that direction, but Schwartz wouldn't comment when asked if Best had been cleared for all activities.

Of course, if the Lions were concerned about Best, and if they were planning to target running backs in the draft, you wouldn't expect Schwartz or anyone else to say so in February. But if I had to guess, I would say running back isn't high on the Lions' list of offseason priorities.