John Ross: It’s all growth and progression from here

Josh Alper
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Bengals wide receiver John Ross‘ rookie season got off to a bad start when he fumbled on his first NFL touch and it didn’t get much better from there.

Ross missed time in the offseason as he recovered from shoulder surgery, hurt his knee once he did get on the field in August and then went on injured reserve after playing 17 snaps in three games due to another shoulder injury. That led to criticism from inside and outside the organization.

The voices inside the Bengals have been more positive this offseason and Ross said he’s taken last year’s struggles, which he says went beyond injuries, to heart.

“Last year I let everything get to me.” Ross said, via the team’s website. “I let my injury get to me. I was trying to do more than I could. I was out of shape. I’m not trying to make excuses, but its real life things. You can’t just come in the NFL and be that guy. You have to come in and prepare. I’ve learned that. It’s growth and progression from here on.”

Ross said he feels “the best I’ve felt since I went into my last year of college” and that offseason work with former Bengal T.J. Houshmandzadeh has helped him get to a place where he can be more successful in his second season. If so, that will be a welcome addition to a Bengals offense that’s moving in a new direction under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor this year.

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