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Lions' Jahvid Best likely has played his last down in NFL

Having failed to find a doctor willing to clear him for a return to football, Jahvid Best has acknowledged that he's become the NFL's poster boy for concussions.

Best has insisted, however, that retirement talk is premature, preferring to "cross bridges when I get to them."

Those bridges now are on the immediate horizon. The Detroit Free Press recently confirmed Best isn't expected to play football again after suffering four concussions dating back to his final year at Cal.

Already turning the page on his 2010 first-round draft pick, Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew now is looking for "that shifty back that can come in and be that change-of-pace guy who can catch passes out of the backfield."

It's hard to overstate the importance of coach Jim Schwartz's fantasy back as a dangerous home run hitter to complement wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Over the past two seasons, the Lions are 5-1 with Best in the lineup and 9-18 without him.

"You've all seen Jahvid when he's played," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said last October. "He's as explosive of a player as I've been around."

Best will turn 24 on Jan. 30, but he likely will end up joining former Cincinnati Bengals prodigy Greg Cook as one of the NFL's memorable shooting stars.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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