John Ross was the star of the 2017 NFL combine.
The former Washington speedster stole all the headlines when he blazed to a record 4.22 time in the 40-yard dash, breaking Chris Johnson's near-decade long leading time.
Ross also posted the third longest broad jump in the draft class, leading to his name rocketing up big boards.
Still, it was a shock when the Bengals pulled the trigger on the slight receiver with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft.
His lofty selection placed extremely high expectations on his rookie year, particular operating across from AJ Green and Tyler Eifert who demand a great deal of attention from opposing secondaries.
The result of his first season in the NFL couldn't have been much worse though.
Ross only managed to see the field for 17 snaps on the whole year after being ravaged by shoulder and knee injuries.
The 23-year-old failed to haul in a single catch and his only positive yardage was a 12 yard rush in week two against the Texans. But even that ended with a fumble.
The disappointment of being injured and not being able to contribute and justify his draft pick clearly got to Ross too, and he admits there were tough times along the way.
People began questioning his desire to be on the field, which didn't sit well with him.
“It hurt me a lot, because I feel like sometimes people don’t understand what a player’s going through,” Ross told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “Not just me, but everyone who goes through something that they can’t control. No one wants to be hurt and no one plans on being hurt, so you’ve got to look at the guys who work hard every day and then they go out and there’s freak accidents, there’s things that happen all the time.”
“When people question the things that you desire when they don’t understand, it’s kind of tough on a player,” Ross said.
“Because you don’t understand why they would do something like that, because they just really don’t know what you’re going through. And I think that’s the problem sometimes, the fact that people don’t understand that you are dealing with something that’s traumatic to your career and they really can’t seem to feel the pain that you’re going through. So they really don’t understand.”
Ross seems to be fully healthy and participating in all the Bengals team drills so far this offseason, and it sure would be good to see back to his electrifying best this season.
If he stays healthy, the Bengals could have one of the most dangerous and diverse passing attacks in football, and they certainly need that to come to fruition after a rather underwhelming 2017 campaign.