When the Cincinnati Bengals used , he was supposed to energize their offense and provide a lightning vertical threat on the other side of A.J. Green. Ross did not live up to during his first full season.
In fact, Ross will finish the season less catches than he had combine 40 records: zero. Ross didn't catch a single ball this year, although he did have one run for 12 yards this season way back in Week 2,. He was only targeted twice this year.
On Thursday morning, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis -- who has not had the best week -- apparently claimed in an interview with Ross Tucker on Sirius XM that Ross purposely misled the Bengals about an injury in his "other shoulder."
Coming into the draft, the biggest knock on Ross was his health. There was no doubt that he could run, and run fast. He. And his tape at Washington showed a guy with excellent routes and a sneaky threat in the red zone for his size. He's even .
Ross next to Green would be devastating. Provided he could stay healthy.
Clearly that wasn't the case, but it's odd to see that Lewis would throw his young receiver under the bus. Tucker noted that it's not uncommon for a young guy to hide an injury, but it does feel odd for this to play out in a public fashion.
BTW, based on reaction seems people don't realize this isn't that unusual. Young guy w/ "injury prone" label trying to fight thru injury & prove himself.— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) December 7, 2017
The Bengals drafted a guy who was injury-prone coming out of college and used a top-10 pick on him, assuming that their offensive line would hold up for Andy Dalton and assuming that Ross would be able to make an instant impact on a depleted receiving corps. Tyler Boyd, their second-round pick in 2016, hasn't been able to make an impact and Tyler Eifert, their first-round pick at tight end in 2013, hasn't been able to stay healthy. They depend on Brandon LaFell to help out Green as a result -- Ross making an impact would have been a huge help.
That may explain why Lewis is less than thrilled, although it's not like he's been real happy with Ross all year. As my colleague John Breech noted, Lewis has called out Ross for a route he ran back in Week 10.
Oddly enough, Lewis said this week he thinks that Ross, who was a healthy scratch against Pittsburgh in Week 13, could play. The Bengals would Ross on injured reserve not long after.
We are very interested in making sweeping statements about NFL players after just a single year. Ross will probably hear the b-word tossed around a bit this offseason. It's too early and he's too talented, though. Unfortunately for him, his coach isn't helping his case much.