Eagles Receiver Hopeful Drawing Inspiration From His Son In Comeback Attempt

John Ross is attempting a comeback after two years away from the NFL, and is getting help from his 7-year-old son Kyrie.
John Ross, who is attempting to make a comeback from retirement with the Philadelphia Eagles, had a strong practice during an OTA session on May 30, 2024.
John Ross, who is attempting to make a comeback from retirement with the Philadelphia Eagles, had a strong practice during an OTA session on May 30, 2024. / Ed Kracz
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PHILADELPHIA – John Ross knew he had made a mistake the minute he announced his retirement from the NFL. Now, the recently signed receiver is on track for a comeback with Eagles.

“I never wanted to leave football,” he said. “I think I was just at a point in my life where I had a lot going on, but literally the day I retired I knew it was a mistake. But I think when you go through so much in life, you can only control so much, you get to a place mentally and physically from what I’ve been dealing with and what I dealt with, it was tough. In my heart I know who I am.”

The ninth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Ross had a strong day at Thursday’s OTA and could be in line to provide depth behind A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. The receiver needs to keep stacking good practices through next week's mandatory minicamp and once training camp begins in July if he wants to return from a two-year absence from the NFL.

To reach this point, Ross had to start from the bottom again, relying on his 7-year-old son, Kyrie, for all the motivation he would need.

John Ross
John Ross meets reporters following an open OTA on May 30, 2024. / Ed Kracz

Ross, 28, accepted an offer to attend the Eagles’ rookie camp in early May with rookies and hopefuls. It could have been a humbling experience for a player with Ross’ talents who never really had a chance to blossom fully due to several injuries throughout his career.

“You look at it like this,” he said. “In my situation, I was a top 10 draft pick. And we all talk about it all the time like, if we ever get to a point where we have to try out, we’d probably be done. But then you get to that point, you don’t have any other choice.”

It was show up, prove himself, and ride the wave for as long as he can.

“When I got the opportunity, I was probably the happiest person on Earth - me and my son,” he said. “I was just grateful and thankful. When I got here, I was happy to be here. It was a rookie minicamp. I wasn’t looking at it this way. It was an opportunity for me to play football again. That’s what I seen. It could’ve been an Eagles Canadian tryout, I would’ve been there happy, willing and able.”

Ross asked his son Kyrie if he could pick any team, he would want his dad to try out for, which team would it be. Kyrie’s first choice was the Baltimore Ravens.

“He’s a big Lamar Jackson fan,” said Ross referring to the Ravens quarterback.

The second team Kyrie mentioned was the Eagles.

“I lit up like a Christmas tree and I knew I was supposed to be here,” said Ross. “That right there, it motivated me to basically, when I got on that plane, I told myself don’t come home. That was my focus going through and it’s still my focus now.”

Kyrie also provided the spark for Ross to return.

After retiring, he began to coach his son in football, and saw a lot of himself in Kyrie.

“I got this little boy inspiring me every day through him, watching him play football, and him learn, and me teach him, and I used to feel bad because I would get on him so much, and I was like, I should be getting on myself because I can see me in him,” he said. “I can honestly say he pulled me out of a bad place and I’m very thankful.

“I think when you get to a point where you are at your lowest, you get a chance to see everything for what it is, and you get to kind of look around and see your surroundings and I can tell you my environment wasn’t great. So, you kind of have to hone down and pay attention to what matters to you and what’s real. I got to see my son every single day and I think that changed my life because it just let me know that I don’t have anything to worry about.”

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Ed Kracz


Ed Kracz has been covering the Eagles full-time for over a decade and has written about Philadelphia sports since 1996. He wrote about the Phillies in the 2008 and 2009 World Series, the Flyers in their 2010 Stanely Cup playoff run to the finals, and was in Minnesota when the Eagles secured their first-ever Super Bowl win in 2017. Ed has received multiple writing awards as a sports journalist, including several top-five finishes in the Associated Press Sports Editors awards.