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John Ross opens up about disastrous rookie season

John Ross is taking the blame for his failed rookie season, and he’s ready to rebound from it in 2018.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

John Ross is ready to prove himself all over again.

After being drafted No. 9 overall by the Bengals in 2017, it looked inevitable that Ross would be a major player in Cincinnati. However, injuries and a lack of playing time helped prevent him from ever making an impact.

Part of that was due to offseason shoulder surgery that caused Ross to miss training camp and be limited in the preseason. He talked about that ordeal with’s Geoff Hobson and how his body was never quite right.

“That was the problem,” Ross says. “My body didn’t respond the way I wanted it to. Coming in late, I didn’t get to train. I was out of shape. That was pretty tough on my body. Rushing into it. Being out of shape. My body couldn’t take the physical aspects of the game we do every day. I thought I could. I think it kind of wore me out faster than I thought. I really didn’t catch up until the end of the year when I started to have better practices. It all started to click together. It was already kind of too late. It was best to rest, get my body right.”

Ross was recovering from shoulder surgery when he joined the team and through the summer. The recovery from that injury forced him to be limited during the beginning of training camp. It also led to him missing the first two preseason game.

Then, when he finally played in the preseason, he suffered a knee sprain in the final game that caused him to miss the Bengals regular season opener. He was inactive in Week 1 due to that knee injury, and then after making his debut in Week 2, he fumbled the ball and was benched. He then hurt his knee again in practice and was effectively done for the season.

Marvin Lewis repeatedly emphasized how Ross wasn’t ready to play, even when he was healthy. Then when it appeared the Bengals were ready to use him more, Ross was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a shoulder issue. It was not the same shoulder that was injured and surgically repaired this spring prior to the Bengals drafting him, but still, it was a cherry on top of a disastrous season for Ross.

But Ross isn’t deflecting blame. Instead, he’s accepting all of the blame for his lost rookie season.

“I’m the one who did it,” Ross says. “I’m the one who fumbled. I’m the one who ran a poor route. There are always things to correct, always things to do better. Things are going to happen, but it’s not the end of the road. I’ve still got a lot of things to prove, still have a lot of work to do. If it was easy, I wouldn’t want to do it.”

It’s great to hear Ross accepting his mistakes as his own and not blaming others for it. He sounds like a player ready to overcome his rough entrance to the NFL and be the player Cincinnati envisioned when they spent a top-10 pick on him.