WASHINGTON: Former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best, whose NFL career was cut short by concussions, is trying to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics as a sprinter for St. Lucia.
Best was a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and played two seasons for the Lions, who snapped a 10-year run of losing seasons in 2011, his final season.
Best, 27, ran for 945 yards and six touchdowns over 22 games, but mutiple concussions in 2011 ended his career.
Now he is looking to qualify for the Olympics for St. Lucia, his father’s homeland.
Best, an American, can compete for the Caribbean island nation if he gains citizenship and a passport and runs a qualifying time of 10.16 seconds or faster in the 100 meters at the St. Lucia national championships July 25-26, according to St. Lucia News Online.
“I just want to bring the pride back to St. Lucia,” Best told the San Jose Mercury News.
“I want to carry the flag around the track and make my country proud. I will be seeking a place on the team. Representing my country would mean a lot to me, my family.”
Best, who has a tattoo of St. Lucia on his arm, has been training in Arizona and was timed at 10.16 seconds at a meet in San Diego last month.
“I never look too far into the future, so far as the sub-10 talk and expectations, I can’t say,” Best said. “I’m just focused on getting better every single day.
“I’m a hard worker and I know there’s room for improvement. How much room is to be determined, but whatever room is there I will find it.”