Jahvid Best's brain.
Some of you might recall that the last thing I wrote for the site before devolving into a steady stream of embarrassing histrionics about burnout was a piece about Junior Seau’s death, concussions, how enormously screwed up the NFL is when it comes to player safety and all that jazz. In the end, I essentially concluded that nobody knows what in the hell is going on and we’re all just fucking vultures and jackals trying to make peace with ourselves. Naturally, the Football Gods have seen fit to reward my delicate contemplations by turning Jahvid Best’s brains into a bowl of lukewarm soup (Cream of head trauma?)
Of course this has led to everyone fretting and pulling out their hair and wearing placards on the side of the road, ringing a bell and screaming the end is near. This is because Best is our most explosive playmaker at running back and because the other option there is coming off his own grotesque season-ending injury and is one bong hit away from being strapped to a table and tortured like William Wallace by Sheriff Goodell. The situation, she’s-a-no good.
There is hope – fading, but it’s still there, well, kinda anyway – that a doctor will examine Best and shine a flashlight in his eyes without making the poor dude puke, but that hope is tested week after week when Jim Schwartz is asked about Best and responds with what can be described as a shrug and a “Well, fuck if I know. The dude’s head is made of cheese-whiz and shattered dreams. Uh, ask me next week?” This is not a good sign. I mean, even if Best is medically cleared to play, let’s face it, all someone has to do is breathe on him like a child blowing on a dandelion and the dude’s head is going to melt like at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Now, the question then becomes, do we even want him to come back? And this is where things get tricky. Refer to the whole Seau article for more on that. I mean, as much as I feel like we need Jahvid Best, I also don’t really want to be watching a game in October and have to take a half-hour long break while the stands go silent, all the other players gather on the field in prayer, the announcers take that hushed “Oh fuck, I hope he isn’t dead” tone and Jahvid Best himself lays on the field, swallowing his own tongue while trainers try to strap a surfboard to his back. As it is, he’ll probably be slurring his speech like me on a Friday night by the time he’s 35 and shaking like Muhammad Ali by the time he’s 40. Every time he touches the ball we’re all gonna get a knot in our stomach, hoping that this won’t be the play that turns him into a broccoli stalk.
But aside from all that pesky human interest shit, there’s also this: is it really a good idea to pin so much of our hopes and dreams on a dude who probably has his own personal ER team on standby in the locker room every game? At some point we all have to come to terms with an obvious and terrible truth: Jahvid Best is fucking broken, y’all and what he’s got, nobody can fix. It’s just the way it is. It sucks. I know. I want him to be the Superman Made of Lightning and Joy backfield counterpoint to Matthew Stafford’s Bombs Over Baghdad (and Green Bay, and Minneapolis, and Chicago, and . . .) aerial attack just like the rest of you. But right now, all we’re doing is making love to wishes and I don’t know if you’ve seen the Wishmaster but that shit doesn’t turn out so well.
The scary thing is that we really don’t have too many alternatives. Like I said, there’s Mikael LeShoure, his slain Achilles and a cloud of smoke and then I guess there’s Kevin Smith who I think we can all admit is a nice story but I think we can also all admit that we wanted something better than the Littlest Engine That Could at running back this season, right? I know that’s not really fair to Smith, but his own track record isn’t exactly one of pristine health and dependability, you know? I guess we could clone Calvin Johnson and teach him how to take a handoff or just eliminate the running back position all together and just have our receivers carry shotguns during the game so they don’t get killed, but . . . yeah.
So what do we do? What in the fuck do we even hope for here? I mean, really, what we’re down to when it comes to Jahvid Best is praying for miracles and healing potions discovered in the Amazon Rain Forest. We’re about one collective day away from kidnapping him and dunking him in the Healing Waters of Lourdes. And while Hope is great and a good thing, there is honest, productive Hope and then there is wide eyed, buoyed by terror Delusion disguised as Hope and we spent way too many years dirty dancing with that motherfucker for me to want to go back to that shit.
What’s left? I don’t know and neither do any of you. I’ll admit that I haven’t exactly been the best fan this offseason. I still know my shit but I haven’t been obsessively tracking the fringe roster invitees and scouting the backup punter’s cousin’s dogs trainer’s nephew’s 40 time like a lot of you probably have so maybe there’s a surprise dude just hanging around ready to tear shit up at camp. I don’t know, but probably not. So that leaves us with praying to the Football Gods, to Crom and to The Great Willie Young for Jahvid Best’s brain to be suddenly touched by the Holy Spirit and healed of its sins before week one. I mean, I’m willing to strangle a goat or two if that’s what it takes and I’ve already started stringing up virgins to trees and lashing them with whips made from the hair of a unicorn in order to curry the gods’ favor but I don’t know if that’s gonna be enough.
Look, I didn’t mean this post to be so HEAD FOR THE HILLS ONLY THE STRONG WILL SURVIVE but even in the afterglow of a playoff season, these are still strange and terrible times and none of us can afford to be naïve, otherwise when the inevitable Doom comes down on Jahvid Best’s withered brain stem, we’ll take to embittered name calling and mud-slinging and then we’ll all make asses of ourselves on MLive and I’ll be forced to call a synod where we’ll elect a new Pope who will have to call a crusade against stupidity and then we’ll all tear each other apart because we didn’t have the balls to stare Truth in the eyes now and accept his wisdom.
So maybe we should just accept that Jahvid Best’s future lies in the halls of Valhalla and try to make our peace with that. Or not. What the fuck do I know? Oh God, please heal Jahvid Best’s broken brain and also while I have you can you turn Jared Allen into a giant butt, not a metaphorical butt like he is now but like an actual giant butt with a big hole in the middle where poop comes out of because that would be kind of cool and I think we deserve it after the 50 year desert wandering we were subjected to which was worse than what you put Moses through and that motherfucker spent his childhood cavorting with Egyptian whores and his adopted brother, Yul Brynner, who I think you’ll agree was a real dickhead. Anyway, you let Moses off with 40 years so I think you can give us a little credit and grant us our three wishes like it says you can in the Bible. I’ve seen Aladdin. I know how this shit works so I need you and your pet monkey to show up. But if you sound like Robin Williams, I’m fucking out. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. Forgive me. I’m even rubbing the shit out of this reading lamp. See? See???
This is what it has come to because when it comes to Jahvid Best and his rebellious brain, this is all we have left. This is the dark heart that lies beneath our outer jubilation. The Fear is always chasing after us, like some evil assassin in the night and The Fear will reduce us to gibbering ignoramuses (ignoramii?) if we let it. So, uh, let’s just see what happens? I don’t know. I don’t fucking know. But I’m going to force myself to consider the possibility that this one won’t turn out so well and I’m going to do something that we as a fanbase aren’t very good at – I’m going to try to be reasonable and if it works out, great and if it doesn’t, I’ll only sip from the Drain Cleaner, I won’t chug. After all, I have matured.