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Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best (44) during organized team activities at Detroit Lions training facility last May / Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson had a message for teammate Jahvid Best, who hasn't played a down since October 2011 due to multiple concussions, on Monday's "NFL Total Access."

Via NFL Evolution:

"I just told him that if it was me I would shut it down," Burleson said. "You've got so much more life to live, and even though I would love to have you on the field, I don't want it to risk anything that has to do with your brain or possibly your post career."

It was a refreshingly candid statement from the ten-year pro, who said that concerns over the Best's health should be more important than trying to resurrect the 2010 first round pick's career, which has only lasted a brief 22 games.

"I spoke to him last season. Jahvid could have easily been one of the best running backs to put on a Lions jersey ? He's that type of player. The reason I'm talking in past tense is because he's going through a different type of concussion. He didn't have a ton of them, but the ones that he did have they were really powerful."

"In conversing with him, he was able to tell me if he wasn't sure he was going to decide to come back and play the game he loves so much - he's so young - or if he's going to decide to chalk it up."

"And just being a guy that loves him as an individual vs. him, as a player, I just told him, 'Honestly I'd rather see you healthy at 65 than healthy at 25,' "

As unfortunate as the 24-year-old Best's injuries are, Burleson's advice does prove that some current players are paying close attention to the effects of head injuries in the NFL and the consequences that multiple concussions have had on former players.

While the peer pressure from teammates to return from head trauma may be lessening, the league is also making it harder for players with severe concussions to return to the field. Best refused to discuss retirement halfway through the 2012 season, telling the Detroit Free-Press he'd been "working out like an animal." Yet as the year went on, no doctor would clear him to return to the NFL.

Despite having two years left on Best's contract, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said last month that he wasn't counting on the running back to ever return to the team. Ultimately it will be Best's decision whether he wants to keep working to return to the league. But unlike decades ago, when teammates, execs and the medical staff would likely have been pushing a former first-round pick to get back on the field by any means necessary, this time the external pressure on the player seems to be telling him to go the opposite direction.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Lions teammate: Jahvid Best should 'shut it down'

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