John Ross, the NFL’s fastest man, retires at 27


John Ross, the wide receiver who holds the record for the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 27. Ross, who was a first-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017, told the Kansas City Chiefs, his latest team, that he is ending his comeback attempt¹.

A promising start

Ross was a star at the University of Washington, where he caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns in his final season. He also excelled as a kick returner, scoring four touchdowns on special teams in his college career. He was widely regarded as one of the best wide receiver prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft, along with Corey Davis and Mike Williams.

Ross made headlines when he ran a blazing 4.22-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, breaking the previous record of 4.24 seconds set by Chris Johnson in 2008. His speed and explosiveness earned him comparisons to DeSean Jackson and Tyreek Hill. The Bengals selected him with the ninth overall pick, hoping to pair him with A.J. Green and Andy Dalton.

A disappointing career

However, Ross’ NFL career never lived up to his potential. He struggled with injuries, inconsistency, and confidence issues throughout his four seasons with the Bengals. He played only three games as a rookie, failing to record a single catch. He bounced back in his second year, catching seven touchdowns on 21 receptions. But he regressed in his third year, catching only 28 passes for 506 yards and three touchdowns in eight games before landing on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

Ross requested a trade from the Bengals in 2020, citing a lack of opportunity and trust from the coaching staff. He played only three games that season, catching two passes for 17 yards. He became a free agent in 2021 and signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants. He hoped to revive his career with a fresh start and a new quarterback in Daniel Jones.

However, Ross suffered another setback when he injured his hamstring in training camp and was placed on injured reserve. He missed the first three games of the season before being activated in Week 4. He made his debut for the Giants against the New Orleans Saints, catching one pass for six yards.

A surprising decision

Ross’ decision to retire came as a shock to many fans and analysts who expected him to join the Chiefs after being waived by the Giants on November 2. The Chiefs claimed him off waivers on November 3, adding him to their already loaded offense led by Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. Ross was seen as a potential deep threat who could stretch the field and create mismatches for the Chiefs.

However, Ross told the Chiefs that he is retiring on November 26, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo¹. The Chiefs placed him on the reserve/retired list on November 27². The reasons behind Ross’ retirement are unclear, but some speculate that he may have lost his passion for the game or faced personal issues.

John Ross, the NFL’s fastest man, ends his NFL career with a stat line of 63 catches, 963 yards, and 11 touchdowns in 38 games³. He also holds the record for the fastest time ever recorded at the NFL Scouting Combine⁴. His speed and talent will always be remembered by football fans who witnessed his brief but remarkable journey in the league.


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