New York Giants receiver John Ross remembers the first time he knew he had the gift of speed.
"Probably just being a kid, like my first practice ever," he told reporters on a video conference call before the Giants' Saturday evening practice in Newark. "Just being out there with a group of kids and, you know, everybody kind of excluded me from the group, you know, we throw in sprints, and I'm just out sprinting guys."
With that kind of speed, it was only natural for Ross to try to make it as either a track and field star or as an NFL receiver. But in choosing the latter, Ross, the ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Bengals, hasn't come close to living up to his billing.
Ross, who gets a fresh start with the Giants, doesn't want to harp too much on what might have led to his downfall in Cincinnati. Instead, he's focused on what lies ahead with the Giants.
"I'm just taking it day by day. I'm thankful to be here," he said. "Just focusing on the time now, I'm not really worried about what happened in the past. I'm not just looking forward to today, I'm looking forward to tomorrow and the future."
The future, though, seems a bit murky for Ross, who was signed before the Giants drafted KAdarius Toney in the first round in April. Given how the projected depth chart stacks up, Ross, at best, would be the fifth receiver behind Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Toney. And if Ross wants to help his case for a roster spot, he's undoubtedly going to have to produce on special teams where thus far this summer he's received some looks as a return specialist, a role he did in college at Washington but one he hasn't done in the NFL.
"I don't try to view it like, 'Where do I see myself fitting in?'" Ross said. "I just come here every day, and I try to work. Wherever I'm placed, I'll be ready to work.
"I let the coaches handle that and I just, you know, come here to do what I, what I've been doing for years, you know, just play football."
New York Giants - Atlanta Falcons Final Week 3 Injury Report Revealed
Several Giants are trending in the right direction for Sunday's game.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley Remains Patient in Comeback
Barkley's production through two games has been pedestrian, but the fourth-year pro believes the best is still yet to come as he continues to get back into a groove following his year away due to an ACL injury.
New York Giants Offense vs. Atlanta Falcons Defense: Who Has the Competitive Edge?
Olivier Dumont takes a deep dive into the numbers, personnel and matchups between the New York Giants offense (running and passing) and the Atlanta Falcons defense to see which team has the competitive edge.
Ross also said that he's learned not to overstress on the things he can't control. When asked what he's learned along his journey in the NFL, he said, "My life is bigger than football.
"I think I put too much stress into the game and not into myself, you know? I learned that, you know, I just need to take this day by day, and just continue to work hard every day. I'm here to do a job and that's, that's, you know what I should be focused on."
But before Ross can do the job, he knows there's one very important thing he needs to show.
"I think my biggest thing isn't my ability; it's my availability," he said. "You can tell when I'm not healthy; you can see when things aren't going right, and I think that's my biggest thing.
"I haven't played 16 games yet and I'm going on my fifth year. I think that says a lot and that's a big deal."
If Ross can kick the injury-prone label and let his natural talents and abilities take over, the Giants will be a much better team with Ross.
"Absolutely," Ross said when asked if he is still the same guy who outran his friends when he was a child. "I still feel good. I still feel like I haven't lost a step or anything, so I just worry about continuing to work hard. I want to stay the same, and as long as I keep my health riding, continue to work.
More from Giants Country
- New York Giants Work Out Former Minnesota Vikings QB Sean Mannion
- Just Call New York Giants Defensive Back Julian Love "Mr. Versatility"
- Giants D-Lineman Danny Shelton Grateful for Another Opportunity with Joe Judge
- Giants Training Camp Practice Report Day 4 Takeaways and Observations
- Weekly Reader Mailbag
- Kenny Golladay Not Worried About Slow Start to Giants Training Camp