John Ross, the No. 9 overall pick a year ago, played only 17 total snaps in three games and made no receptions on one target as a rookie. Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said last month that Ross “gets to decide what he’s going to be.”
Ross is ready to be better.
“I’ve been through a lot last year,” Ross said, via Geoff Hobson of the team website. “But it’s a new year. A lot of new things coming. The emphasis from last year looks to be change.”
Ross spent most of the season last on the depth chart at the position, usually a healthy scratch when he was able to play. But he started the season injured and ended the season on injured reserve.
Ross recovered from offseason shoulder surgery late in training camp only to injure his knee in the fourth preseason game. He then later reinjured the knee and ended up on injured reserve with an injury to his other shoulder.
“That was the problem,” Ross says. “My body didn’t respond the way I wanted it to. Coming in late [because of an NFL rule limiting players whose schools are on the quarter system], I didn’t get to train. I was out of shape. That was pretty tough on my body. Rushing into it. Being out of shape. My body couldn’t take the physical aspects of the game we do every day. I thought I could. I think it kind of wore me out faster than I thought. I really didn’t catch up until the end of the year when I started to have better practices. It all started to click together. It was already kind of too late. It was best to rest, get my body right.”
Ross is rehabbing from December shoulder surgery with hopes of being ready to run routes in the spring.