As NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported recently, Bengals receiver John Ross wants out of Cincinnati. He's not afraid to express that desire on Twitter, either.
Ross replied to a since-deleted tweet from a local sports reporter Thursday with a blunt explanation of his feelings at this point in the 2020 season, his fourth NFL campaign:
"It's not a secret that I have requested a trade," Ross wrote. "Trade me if this how y'all feel. I'm healthy and eager to play. I know I can be productive. It's hard to love something when your (sic) not actually participating in it. Believe me, its (sic) not football that I don't like."
Ross leapt out of Pac-12 circles with his record-setting 4.22-second 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, prompting the Bengals to select him ninth overall in the draft. He clearly possessed top-end speed and was thought to be capable of taking the top off opposing defenses, potentially helping open up Cincinnati's offense.
He's instead struggled through multiple injuries to catch 51 passes for 733 yards and 10 touchdowns over three-plus seasons. The pick simply hasn't worked out in Cincinnati's eyes, as the Bengals declined Ross' fifth-year option ahead of the 2020 season.
Ross' usage is at an all-time low this season. After playing 56 snaps in a Week 1 loss to the Chargers, Ross has played just 29 snaps the rest of the season. He's been on the Bengals' injury report with an illness for the last two weeks, but was fully healthy in Week 6 -- and played just one snap in a loss to the Colts.
Ross is the second Bengal to express public displeasure with the organization. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap made it very clear he wanted out of Cincinnati and received his wish this week when he was traded to Seattle.
Might we see the same fate for Ross? Tuesday's trade deadline looms. If he isn't moved by then, he'll have to wait until March to receive his freedom via free agency. Either way, his days in Cincinnati are numbered.