John Ross: 40-yard dash record holder to reportedly hang up cleats

Ross will be remembered for running a 4.22-second 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine, passing Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, who ran a 4.24 in 2008. Ross’ time is still the fastest on record, and led to the Cincinnati Bengals selecting him with their first-round pick.

On this Wednesday afternoon in late May, there’s only one couple nearby at Rick’s Café Boatyard. But they’re so busy day-drinking and making out like, really making out that they seem to have no idea that a guy who has a very good chance of being the Colts’ Week 1 starting QB is five feet away getting choked up thinking about a hug.

However, their loss of receiver John Ross to an unexpected retirement will leave them with one less speed merchant to utilize with these unique looks when they take the field for September’s regular season kickoff.

The development ends a six-year career in the NFL that saw Ross become one of the league’s bigger draft busts in recent memory. His final career numbers, barring a comeback: 62 catches, 957 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 143 targets, an average of 6.7 yards per target.

The Bengals selected Ross with the ninth overall pick of the 2017 draft — one spot before Patrick Mahomes was selected by the Chiefs — and he appeared in just three games as a rookie due to injuries and coaching decisions. He would play in 24 more games for the Bengals over the next three seasons and saw his last regular season action in 10 2021 games for the Giants.

Ross was expected to provide healthy competition near the end of the wide receiver depth chart and potentially even factor into the picture as a special teams option during camp and the preseason. Most projected him to be on the outside looking in as far as a roster spot was concerned, and his retirement now renders it a moot point.

He got more in the mix his sophomore year with 21 catches, 210 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 58 targets, then really seemed to break out with 158 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 of 2019 and 112 yards and another touchdown in Week 2. Unfortunately, that was the highest point he would ever reach. He posted only 236 yards the rest of the year while spending eight weeks on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

After the game, in near darkness beside the team bus, Minshew and his dad shared a visceral, aggressive embrace that has all the feels. Love. Warmth. A little bit of sadness. Maybe a hint of bottled-up frustration. It’s the kind of hug that hits because you can just tell they’ve been waiting a long time for this. It’s the kind of hug we could all use, and that’s probably why video of it went viral.