CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - There is no redshirt in the NFL, but 2017 was basically a redshirt season for Bengals Top 10 pick and speedy wide receiver John Ross.
Chatting with FOX19 NOW and other reporters at the end of minicamp on Thursday, Ross called himself a new person and wanted to set the record straight on his unique relationship with head coach Marvin Lewis.
"I just feel like a lot of people see it like last year -- he was kind of a villain in my story," Ross said of Marvin Lewis. "I don't think that was the case."
Ross saw limited snaps in his rookie season, didn't record a single catch and ended the season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, but the criticism reached an all-time high when Lewis called out his rookie wide receiver for not finishing a route on a deep target from QB Andy Dalton in a November loss to the Titans.
"For Andy, against that coverage to throw him that football, he should understand how the quarterback feels about him," Lewis said in November. "He expects him to be where he needs to be. He let his teammates down. He let me down. He let Andy down."
Lewis has since flipped the script, raving about Ross in his second season with the Bengals and making it publicly known that Ross was "not a miss" as a Top 10 pick. Ross is now writing a new script of his own and impressing like many hoped he would in 2017.
"I love his attitude right now," Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. "We had a chance to talk to him in the off season about -- let's remember the guy we drafted. We drafted a football player and that's what we want and that's what he's been the whole spring. It's been very positive. I'm excited."
Bengals seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver AJ Green says Ross is much bigger than he was this past year.
"He's coming back very confident," he said.
Ross says it feels like a new year.
"I feel like a new person," he said. "Like last week, I made a play on the defense and the offense is jumping up and down and going crazy. That's what I live for, not just running by somebody and hearing someone say, 'He can run,' that gets pretty old pretty quick -- just being a spark plug for the offense."