Skip to main content

John Ross doesn't blame the Bengals for declining his fifth year option: 'I wouldn’t have picked up my option either'

John Ross doesn't blame Bengals for declining his fifth-year option, says he 'wouldn't have' exercised his option either

CINCINNATI — Bengals wide receiver John Ross isn't afraid to say he's in a different head space these days. 

The 24-year-old has had plenty of downs during his pro career. He's entering his fourth season, which has become a prove-it year for the former ninth overall pick. 

Ross has played in just 24 of a possible 48 games since he was drafted in 2017. Most of that missed time was due to injury. He's had hamstring, shoulder and knee issues during his football career. 

His inability to stay healthy is a big reason why the Bengals declined his fifth-year option this offseason. 

"I need to play all 16 games. I need to stay healthy and I need to make plays in every single game," Ross said. "It’s on me to do that. The thing about it, I wouldn’t have picked up my option either. It [the option] guarantees injury if you get hurt. I’ve been injured every single year. That’s not a bad decision by them. And now it’s on me to show them why I should be here longer. That’s how I look at it."

Ross worked with two doctors and a chiropractor this offseason in hopes of having a healthy season. He spoke regularly with guys like DeSean Jackson, A.J. Green and Darqueze Dennard, soaking up advice about how to make sure he would be able to perform consistently for the first time in his career. 

“I’m paying attention more to what I need to do to stay on the field,” Ross told AllBengals in May. “What I need to do to be successful. Put more stuff into my arsenal to where when I get out there, it’s almost like a walk in the park. I’m just trying to focus on myself. I’m competing with myself. I’m not competing with anybody else. I gotta do my job first before I can go out there and compete with anybody else. If I don’t do my job right, then I won’t be out there anyway.”

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Tyler Boyd raved about the speedster during the early stages of training camp. Ross returned to practice on Sunday after spending more than a week in Los Angeles. He was taking care of his 3-year-old son and his son's mother after they tested positive for COVID-19. 

They're both doing well now, which allowed Ross to return to training camp. He got back into town on Thursday and had to test negative for coronavirus three times on three different days (Thursday-Saturday) before he was allowed to enter team facilities.

The Bengals have plenty of options at wide receiver, but no one on the roster and not many players in the league have the speed and quickness that Ross brings to the field. 

That skillset could work well with rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, who worked with Ross in California before the NFL Draft.

He admits the fifth-year option would've been nice, but it wouldn't have guaranteed his spot on the 2021 roster. 

"When you sit down and really think about it, it does not really matter," Ross said. "If they had picked up the option and say I didn’t have a good season, it’s not on my mind, but say I didn’t have a good season and they trade me or I get released? A lot of it is the same thing. Regardless, I still have to come in with the same mentality as if they did pick it up. I have to come in and want be better for myself and want to help this offense win games."

For more on the Bengals, including the latest training camp news, go here!