- ESPN Staff Writer
- Previously a college football writer for The Dallas Morning News
- University of North Texas graduate
CINCINNATI — Bengals wide receiver John Ross opened up about his role and uncertain future in Cincinnati on Friday.
Ross, who has not played in three of the team’s past four games as his role has diminished, rebuffed a report that suggested a team source wasn’t sure if the speedy receiver still liked football.
“Trade me if this (is) how y’all feel,” the Bengals’ 2017 first-round pick wrote on Twitter on Friday. “I’m healthy and eager to play. I know I can be productive. It’s hard to love something when your (sic) not actually participating in it.
“Believe me, its (sic) not football that I don’t like.”
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday.
Ross’ lone offensive numbers this year are the two catches for 17 yards he had in the season-opening loss against the Los Angeles Chargers. He is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans (5-1) with an undisclosed illness.
Ross was a full participant at Wednesday’s practice before he missed the next two days and was not present. The receiver has been listed with an illness on three separate occasions this season. They have all occurred after he was healthy scratch for Weeks 3 and 4. Ross has not met with media since the start of the regular season.
When asked Friday about the Ross’ injury designation for this weekend, coach Zac Taylor said Ross was dealing with stomach issues.
“He’s sick,” Taylor said. “His stomach bothers him. It is what it is. He’s listed with [an] illness, and he’s trying to work through it.”
Ross, a former standout at the University of Washington, has struggled to find his footing in four seasons with the Bengals. Between injuries and an inability to crack the rotation, Ross has appeared in just 27 games with Cincinnati.
Last year, Ross had his best start to a season before he injured his sternoclavicular joint and was placed on injured reserve for eight games. He still finished 2019 with 28 catches for 506 yards, both of which were career highs. Cincinnati declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Ross’ rookie contract.
When reports surfaced of Ross’ trade request, Taylor declined to get into the details of the situation but said he had spoken to the receiver.
“I think anytime players aren’t playing they get frustrated,” Taylor said Oct. 21. “He’s handled his business the right way around here.”
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