INDIANAPOLIS - That John Ross trade story surfacing Tuesday as the NFL descended on the scouting combine bannering how both sides were seeking a new start took one of the sides by surprise.
During their time on Wednesday's national podium at the combine, director of player personnel Duke Tobin, followed by head coach Zac Taylor, both said Ross has a role in the Bengals' upcoming season. Tobin said trading Ross has never been discussed internally and the only time it went external is when teams called responding to the report.
"I'm excited to work with John," said Taylor, who was the Rams assistant receiver coach two years ago when he saw Ross set the combine's 40-yard dash record in 4.22 seconds.
"I remember studying his tape over there in Washington. He's a very exciting player. He's a guy you can move around and do a lot of different things with. He's got a very bright future with us. I know football is important to him. He's got a lot of traits we're excited to work with and we can't get around soon enough to be able to get our hands on some of those receivers and see what they can do in the system."
If anyone wants Ross to succeed, it's Tobin since they used the ninth pick in the 2017 draft on him. After playing just 17 snaps with no catches as a rookie, seven of Ross' 21 catches went for touchdowns as he fought with consistency making the catch.
"We're not going to give up on him," Tobin said. "There are flashes on almost a daily basis in practice. He's got to stay healthy and keep building on his good plays. Confidence will be a huge part. We'll have a new offensive scheme and we'll see how he transitions. But every receiver is going to have a transition. Every receiver is going to have a learning curve."
- Taylor said he expects to name his coaching staff Thursday as he sought a defensive line coach and linebackers coach to round it out.
- In free agency, Tobin indicated they'd like to re-sign slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard and they'll talk to tight end Tyler Eifert about re-upping.
- Because the defensive staff is just getting settled, Tobin and Taylor didn't discuss much the status of veteran linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Taylor did say he's admired his play and how smart he is.