John Ross' rookie season never got untracked.
Bengals No. 1 pick John Ross' injury-marred season fittingly came to an end Wednesday when he went on season –ending injured reserve with one of the toughest stat lines for any rookie in club history:
Three games, 17 snaps, two targets, one run, 12 yards, one fumble. No catches.
The fastest man in the history of the NFL scouting combine just never got on track.
Before the Bengals walked through Wednesday on the Paul Brown Stadium practice field, it appeared Ross would emerge from head coach Marvin Lewis' doghouse and play in Sunday's game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19) against the Bears at PBS after being a healthy scratch three straight weeks. Lewis said at his news conference Ross would play, but word came after the workout that Ross was done for the year with a shoulder injury.
Indications are it's not the shoulder that was surgically-repaired after last season and prevented Ross from getting on the field until the second week of training camp. But he apparently needs to get it cleaned out.
Ross was on the field for about two weeks before he tweaked his knee in the pre-season finale and after he made his debut in the second game of the year against Houston (and fumbled a jet sweep after a 12-yard gain on his only NFL touch) they felt he came back too early and kept him inactive for the next four games. Ross never saw the field again after he stopped a go route in Tennessee and then started to run again.
They replaced Ross on the roster when they promoted rookie nose tackle Josh Tupou from the practice squad for the second time this season. The only game Tupou played came in Jacksonville Nov. 5.
With so many players injured the Bengals worked out a raft of linebackers and defensive backs after practice Wednesday and signed linebacker Carl Bradford to replace Tupou on the practice squad. Bradford, a third-year player out of Arizona State, originally was a fourth-round draft pick of Green Bay in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent regular-season time on 53-player rosters with both the Packers (2014-16) and San Francisco ('16), as well as some time on Chicago's practice squad ('17). He has two career games played, both with the 49ers in '16.
Cincinnati Ben-Gal Cheerleaders perform during the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals game - 12/06/2017 *Photos taken by Steve France