John Ross is as smooth as one of his go routes. As polished as last month's 4.22-second 40-yard dash that makes him the fastest man to ever run at the NFL scouting combine.
"A dream client," said Tammie Scott, his marketing agent from Grutman Sports Entertainment.
Ross had all the moves Friday at Paul Brown Stadium when the Washington wide receiver was officially installed as the Bengals No. 1 pick. During his tour with director of operations Jeff Brickner he was introduced in the draft room and promptly turned into a West Coast scout with crisp, smart reports of some of the guys on the board.
"He's into social media. He likes to do TV," said Scott, who accompanied him to his introductory news conference. "He's done a lot of NFL Network. He's done media tours with Old Spice and other partners. We like to get him out there. Super smooth."
But not smooth enough that he's moved from Long Beach to Los Angeles. Scott was in the negotiations before the combine when Adidas offered an island to any prospect that broke Chris Johnson's 40-yard record while wearing the company's cleats and then agreeing to endorse Adidas shoes. Ross stuck with the Nike brand he's always used.
"He's not an island guy. He's a beach guy. Long Beach guy," Scott said. "A hometown guy.
"He's humble. He's close to his family. Family is very important to him. He's still friends with his best friends in high school."
Scott knows all about hometown loyalty. A Hughes High School grad that grew up in Cincinnati's Forest Park and went to work for the NFL Players Association after she got her master's at Howard, she's returning to live in Cincinnati. It's a coincidence that the Bengals drafted Ross, but she thinks it's a great fit.
"He's going to like it here," she said.
When he gets settled Ross, who is expecting a son in two weeks, plans to devote his community work to children raised in what he calls the inner city with the focus on single parents. After splitting time with one parent in Compton and one in Long Beach, Ross says he grew up in similar circumstances and considers his grandmothers his role models. That's who he stays with when he goes home, although he's close to his parents and six siblings.
"My grandparents had to be the backbone of the family," Ross said. "They never had any help. Just to see them carry the whole family motivated me to want to carry the family … That's what motivates me to be who I am today. "It's very important to have family around. They make you who you are."
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