John Ross working out with JuJu Smith-Schuster

John Ross' role in Cincinnati's offense is as undefined as it gets. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
John Ross' role in Cincinnati's offense is as undefined as it gets. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

After having an injury-plagued rookie season, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross has been working out with other receivers from around the league.

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted wide receiver John Ross at ninth overall just last season and it could not have gone worse for the team or Ross. The team knew about his shoulder injury when drafting him but he suffered another injury to his other shoulder as well which kept him off the field for almost the entire season. He ended up only taking 17 snaps for the Bengals in 2017.

Following his great combine performance last year beating the record for 40-yard dash time, Ross flew up the draft boards and the Bengals hoped he would be the guy to plug in across from wide receiver A.J. Green. Cincinnati has been searching for that other threat to relieve Green of extra attention but failed once again to find it last year. Maybe with Ross getting back to health and a full offseason he can become that guy in 2018 that the Bengals drafted him to be.

It seems that Ross is getting on the field and working with other receivers this offseason which is a good sign for Bengals fans. He’s working hard to not only get back into form for the season but trying to improve his techniques so that he doesn’t have a repeat of 2017. The surprising part is one of the other receivers he is working out with.

Ross posted a picture on Instagram of him working out with Pittsburgh Steelers JuJu Smith-Schuster this offseason. It is not uncommon for players to work out with players from other organizations even if it is inside the division. Smith-Schuster, one of the biggest surprises of the 2017 draft, is probably the most controversial player for Bengals fans to swallow as he was suspended for one-game in 2017 after a hit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

The two knew each other as they played against each other in college for Washington and USC in multiple games. Regardless, whether you like or dislike one of the guys in the group that Ross is working out with it shows that he is getting back into football shape and ready for 2018. It should bring optimism for fans who are ready to see what he can do given the opportunity. It’s time to find out what the Bengals can get out of Ross and if he will be what the weapon they drafted him for.

Head coach Marvin Lewis has optimism for the young second-year receiver and talked to reports about it at the NFL meetings last week. He went on to tell Geoff Hobson, the writer for the Bengals official website, that Ross was never in the doghouse and that he has high expectations for him this season.

"“He wasn’t in my doghouse. I don’t have a doghouse,” Lewis said, per Geoff Hobson of the team’s official website. “I think he’s all the ability we wanted. That’s why we drafted him. He had to get fixed. We knew he was injured going in and he got nicked up a couple of times in his lower legs and the other shoulder was bothering him. He’s all fixed now.”"

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There has been speculation on whether the statement about Ross being in the doghouse is true or just football media talk. Either way, it sounds like Ross will get his shot at camp and in the preseason to prove why he should be a starter for the Bengals. If he can stay healthy, learn the playbook, and be the explosive player he was in college, the Cincinnati offense just took another big leap forward.