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Jahvid Best eyeing Olympic track run for St. Lucia

Former Lions first-round pick Jahvid Best is trying to become the latest former NFL running back to look toward the Olympics for his next chance.

For ex-49ers running back Jarryd Hayne, that meant the chance to play for rugby powerhouse Fiji in the upcoming games. For Best, it meant the chance to qualify for a lesser-known entity: Saint Lucia track and field.

"I just want to bring pride to Saint Lucia, to the Olympic team, to the sport of athletics," Best told St. Lucia News earlier this month. "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."

Best, while not a citizen, has connections to the island. His father grew up near the La Clery section along with his six brothers and sisters. It will aid the former NFLer in his quest to gain citizenship before the games, which start on Aug. 5 in Brazil.

Best also has to run in a local qualifier and meet the standard time for entry: 10.16 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

According to race results from the Arnie Robinson Invitational in San Diego, Best hit that mark back on April 2, which was a personal best at the time and .01 seconds faster than what stands as the fastest 100m sprint in St. Lucian history. St. Lucian national championships are at the end of June.

If nothing else, Best represents a cool story heading into the games after his retirement from the NFL back in 2013. Concussion issues made track and field the next best avenue, and he's running to pay homage to his father's heritage. Giants fans, who followed David Wilson's foray into the triple jump after his retirement from the NFL (neck issues) had a similar feeling. Wilson has yet to qualify for the games, unfortunately.

Best had 945 rushing yards and six touchdowns over two seasons (22 games) with the Lions. He added 85 catches for 774 yards and three touchdowns. St. Lucia currently has two Olympic qualifiers so far: Long jumpers Levern Spencer and Jeannelle Scheper.

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