BERKELEY, Calif. — Former Cal running back Jahvid Best, whose NFL career with the Detroit Lions was ended prematurely by a series of concussions, is returning to school to finish his degree and is expected to be hired as a student assistant coach.

The Cal Rivals website reported that Best, 24, will work as an assistant with Cal's running backs. Chad Nightengale, who coached Best at Salesian High in Richmond, Calif., confirmed Best intends to resume taking classes at Berkeley.

A Cal spokesman Saturday morning said he had no news to announce.

Best led the Pac-12 (then Pac-10) in rushing in 2008 and played two seasons for the Lions before a third concussion ended his playing days. It came shortly after a breakout game against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.

Best got his first taste of coaching last fall when he helped out on a part-time basis last fall Salesian.

“He was great with our kids,” said Nightengale, also a Cal grad. “He works very well with kids in general. His body of work in college and the NFL, obviously, will win a lot of credibility with players.”

At Cal, Best rushed for 1,580 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2008 and then had 867 yards and 12 TDs when he sustained a season-ending head injury in a spectacular spill against Oregon State.

Best, who rushed for 2,668 yards in part of three seasons at Cal, was a first-round draft choice of the Lions in 2010.


He totaled 1,719 rushing and receiving yards in two seasons with Detroit, but hasn't played since 2011 and was released by the Lions last summer.