The Cincinnati Bengals are placing John Ross on season-ending injured reserve, the team announced Wednesday. With Ross landing on IR, the Bengal promoted Josh Tupou from the practice squad to the active roster.
With Tupou now on the 53-man roster, the Bengals signed linebacker Carl Bradford to the practice squad.
Ross has two targets and zero catches in three games played this year, as well as one 12 yard run play, on which he fumbled and lost the ball. A shoulder injury caused his move to IR, though according to Geoff Hobson, it is NOT the same shoulder that was injured and surgically repaired this spring prior to the Bengals drafting him with the No. 9 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Ross will have surgery to repair the shoulder injury. Again, this is NOT the same shoulder that Ross had surgery on this offseason before being drafted by the Bengals, but this is still very concerning for his NFL outlook going forward.
#Bengals WR John Ross, placed on Injured Reserve today, will have surgery within the next week on his left shoulder, source said. Believed to be a labrum issue. Ready by OTAs to have a full offseason this time around.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 6, 2017
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Ross will be healthy by OTAs in 2018.
No one can call this surprising after the way the Bengals managed Ross this year. After being active in Week 2, Ross has been a healthy scratch for nearly every game since. A knee issue did cause him to miss Weeks 3-5, but since he’s been healthy, Ross has been a healthy scratch in all but one game since then.
In the one game Ross was active in, he got limited snaps and just one target, a deep ball from Andy Dalton that sailed over Ross’ head. After that game — a Week 10 loss to the Titans — Marvin Lewis criticized Ross for seemingly quitting on the route.
Ross would be a healthy scratch in the ensuing three games. He then suffered a shoulder injury at some point that kept him out of practice leading up to the Bengals’ Week 14 matchup with the Bears. That is likely what landed him on injured reserve.
Very strangely, earlier today Lewis claimed Sunday’s game against the Bears would be a great opportunity for Ross to finally play again. It’s unclear what happened between now and then, if Lewis was trolling the media, or what really happened.
Tupou, a rookie out of the University of Colorado, originally signed with the Bengals as a college free agent after this year’s draft. He spent Games 1-8 on the practice squad before being signed to the 53-player roster on Nov. 11. He played in Game 9 at Tennessee (no statistics) and was inactive for Game 10 at Denver before being waived on Nov. 21 and signing back to the practice squad on Nov. 22.
Bradford, a third-year player out of Arizona State, originally was a fourth-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent regular-season time on 53-player rosters with both the Packers (2014-16) and San Francisco 49ers (2016), as well as some time on Chicago’s practice squad (2017). He has two career games played, both with the 49ers in 2016.
The Bengals host the Bears this week, though that may just be a coincidence. The Bengals may need help at linebacker with Vontaze Burfict (concussion), Vincent Rey (hamstring) and Nick Vigil (ankle) uncertain to play this week, so Bradford could be on the 53-man roster by Sunday.