Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross for the first time in more than two months. The speedy third-year wideout went down with an injury late during the Bengals' 27-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4 that forced the team to place him on injured reserve.
The play itself looked like a normal, everyday football play. Ross was tackled by cornerback Joe Haden after making a catch, but remained on his back writhing in pain. He was able to get up, but clearly something was wrong. According to Ross, the sternoclavicular joint in his chest came about an inch away from puncturing an artery, and it was almost a life-threatening situation.
"I asked him, 'Could it be life-threatening?' And he said, 'Definitely,'" Ross said via ESPN. "He said it was a couple inches off or something like that from hitting the artery. I didn't want to know any more after that. I said, 'As long as you fix me, I'm fine.'"
Ross was able to consult with Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard, who suffered the same injury last year. This serious accident derailed what was a breakout season for the former No. 9 overall pick out of Washington. He had two 100-yard games to begin the season, and caught three total touchdowns in the first two contests. In all, he caught 16 passes for 328 yards and three scores in the first four games of the season.
Head coach Zac Taylor says that Ross won't necessarily be on a pitch count this Sunday, but offensive coordinator Brian Callahan will aim to rotate all of his wideouts in and out of the lineup.
"He'll have a role and he'll have a spot on the offense moving forward for sure," said Callahan, according to the Bengals' official website. "He's got speed that people fear. We would like to get that back on the field."
Whether he plays a big role on Sunday or not, Ross feels like he can contribute immediately and is ready to get back on the field.
"It's hard to put things in perspective, because it's been so much time," Ross said. "I definitely feel I can contribute, and I definitely will put my best foot forward to go out there and do everything I can to help us win."