The Kansas City Chiefs have placed rookie wide receiver Justyn Ross on injured reserve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media on July 25.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid explained during the opening day of training camp that Ross had undergone surgery this summer to clean up the foot injury he suffered while at Clemson. That would also explain why he was seen over the summer wearing a walking boot. Ross was placed on the team’s active/physically unable to perform list on July 23 along with three other players.
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With Ross being placed on IR and the team waiving Matthew Sexton, Kansas City’s receiver room now stands at 12 players, not including WR/RB Jerrion Ealy: Mecole Hardman, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, rookie Skyy Moore, Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, Cornell Powell, Justin Watson, Daurice Fountain, rookie Aaron Parker, Omar Bayless, and Gary Jennings.
Ross Brings High Upside, Injury History
Ross has one of the highest ceilings you’ll find from the 2022 class of NFL rookies. But there’s a reason why he went undrafted.
Ross was a playmaker during his first two seasons at Clemson. During the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he accumulated 1,865 receiving yards on 112 catches — 16.6 yards per catch — and 17 touchdowns, according to Sports Reference.
In the spring of 2020, Ross was diagnosed with a congenital fusion in his spine, and doctors told him he would never play football again, per Adam Teicher of ESPN. The Clemson pass-catcher would undergo surgery that year and sat out the 2020 season.
During the 2021 season, which was his final year of collegiate football, Ross managed to return to football and caught 46 passes for 514 yards and 3 touchdowns. But a stress fracture in his foot hampered his play the entire season.
With injuries plaguing him for the backend of his time at Clemson, Ross’s draft stock plummeted in 2022. Instead of being one of the top prospects in the draft, he went undrafted. But the injuries weren’t enough to keep Ross out of the NFL entirely, which is evident by him being on Kansas City’s 90-man roster.
Dabo: Ross Could be ‘Greatest Free Agent Ever’
While Ross has everything to prove as he enters the next chapter of his football career, his college football coach is being vocal — and bold — about what he believes Ross can do at the NFL level.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked about Ross, whom he coached throughout his collegiate career, during a Prowl and Growl event in Columbia, South Carolina.
“I mean he’s Justyn Ross,” Swinney said, via Matt Connolly of Clemson Sports. “There’s no questions about Justyn Ross when it comes to playing football. But there’s obvious questions when it comes to, ‘OK, where is he health wise?’ He broke his foot. Obviously he missed all that time with surgical procedures in his neck and back area. He’ll do just fine. If the good lord keeps him healthy, football will come easy for him.”
Swinney then went as far as to say Ross could eventually be known as one of the greatest the NFL has ever seen among the undrafted, barring injury.
“He might be the greatest free agent ever if he stays healthy,” Swinney said.