Justyn Ross looks for his ‘normal self’ with Kansas City Chiefs after spinal surgery

The career of the Clemson product, signed as an undrafted free agent by Kansas City, was in serious jeopardy after a congenital spinal fusion was discovered that caused him to miss a college season.

KANSAS CITY — Justyn Ross didn’t do much to set himself apart during a three-day rookie minicamp with the Kansas City Chiefs which ended on Monday. But, perhaps most importantly of all, the camp for Ross it was a huge success.

Former wide receiver Clemsonwho joined the Chiefs last week after signing as an undrafted free agent, he made it into a practice field for the NFL and competed.

Such a modest goal once seemed unlikely to Rosswho missed one collegiate season in 2020 after being diagnosed with a spinal condition, then limited all year thanks to a stress fracture in his left foot.

“Just stick your foot in the door and try to make plays,” he said. Ross about your goals for the weekend. “A lot of hard work, just spending time really. Just trying to get back to normal self.”

what he meant Ross with the “normal me” was the way he acted in the beginning of his collegiate career. He had 46 receptions for 1,000 yards in Clemson as a freshman followed by a 66-catch, 865-yard season as a sophomore. at the time, he was considered a potential first-round pick when he became eligible for the draft.

Then in 2020, Ross He was hit hard at practice and during the subsequent medical exam, a congenital fusion in his spine was discovered. He was told at the time by doctors that his football career was at risk.

Later, he underwent surgery to alleviate the problem, and the result was so good that he returned to play last year. But, in part because of the foot injury, he was unable to produce the numbers he had early in his career. Ross he caught 46 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns during the 2021 campaign.

“He’s taking the pulse of things out there, having been hurt the last couple of years,” revealed the Los Angeles head coach. Chiefs, Andy Reid. “He’s been brushing off the rust there, but the skill shows.”

Reid said that the Chiefs would not place limitations on Ross, who is scheduled to be a full participant when full-roster offseason practices begin later this May. General manager Brett Veach said after signing Ross that the doctors of the Chiefs they spent quite a bit of time reviewing the wide receiver’s medical condition, giving him the green light to play.

“I have always said that our [médicos] are more on the conservative side,” said Veach. “Our doctors did a great job of going over all the information. For me, it’s a little easier on how I operate. I know how good our medical staff are… If they say yes, I feel fine. If they say yes, I feel fine. that no, I’m not trying to suddenly become a doctor to try to say, ‘Well, this team says this.’ No. If our doctors say it’s okay, it’s okay.”

Ross joined the Chiefs in a time of transition for his wide receivers. They got rid of in exchange for Tyreek Hill and lost two other big receivers —Byron Pringle y Demarcus Robinson— from last season in free agency. return to Mecole Hardmansigned to JuJu Smith-Schuster y Marquez Valdes-Scantling as free agents, and selected Skyy Moore from Western Michigan in the second round.

But, no role has been established for anyone, yet, and Ross he could claim some playing time with a solid performance in camp.

“In terms of talent, as long as he stays healthy, he has a chance,” he said. Veach. “It will come down to him and how he deals with the playbook and being moved. [en diferentes posiciones] and staying healthy and being diligent about looking forward to preventative things you can do for your body.”

For now, just being with the Chiefs and participating is good enough for Ross. He indicated he was disappointed not to be drafted, noting that he expected to be taken somewhere in the seven rounds, but thought going undrafted would be more likely.

And, at that point, it’s more about taking the opportunity to get playing time.

“Of course, I’m ready to prove everyone wrong, but I try to do my thing and do my part in the team, just see what I can do,” he said. Ross.

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