Three reasons for Chiefs Kingdom to be concerned about Justyn Ross

Last year at this time, Ross was a hot name who made good on the buzz by making the team. This year...?
AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Last year at this time, Justyn Ross was a hot name who made good on the buzz by making the team. This year...?

What happened to Justyn Ross?

Twelve months ago at this time, Ross's hype train was a locomotive proceeding full steam ahead. The former Clemson star looked and acted the part of a future WR1 from the outset of his college career at Clemson, but a poor injury history dating back to his college days not only limited his latter years there but kept him from being drafted at all.

The Kansas City Chiefs entered the picture in the aftermath of the 2022 NFL Draft and offered him a chance to join them as a rookie free agent. From there, Ross hung around on injured reserve for his first season only to then stand out enough in the preseason last summer that he forced his way onto the active roster. For the first time in Andy Reid's tenure, the Chiefs kept seven receivers going into the season.

So what will happen this year? If Ross was good enough to make the team last year after a year of learning the ropes, then will he make the leap forward again for greater playing time? At this point, the results feel mixed.

Justyn Ross's injury history

There's no escaping the fact that Ross's injury history is as lengthy as anyone on the Chiefs roster. And the injuries here aren't just random minor issues to get over or common major ones that players return from all the time. After all, it was only four years ago that doctors questioned if he could play again after spinal surgery. He's had multiple follow-up procedures to clean up the injury but that hasn't stopped him from having a stress fracture in his foot as well.

Ross was always a longshot bet to finish a full season and that cloud will continue to remain overhead until he proves otherwise.

Ross's recent suspension

So much of the excitement surrounding Ross last season died down over time and that felt tied to two reasons: 1.) a complete lack of playing time despite being on the active roster, and 2.) the late-season suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policiy for six games.

Ross's suspension came after he was charged with domestic battery and criminal property, the latter a felony-level charge. From there on, Ross became an overlooked player as the Chiefs chased postseason glory and bigger matters needed attending to.

Did the Chiefs sour on Ross a bit following the conviction? Maybe so because that leads us to our third reason.

Far less hype for Justyn Ross

Now that the Chiefs are back to positional battles and roster questions, it should be the prime time for fans to ask about Ross's potential and/or for leaks from Arrowhead touting his potential. Instead, we've got glimpses of Nikko Remigio and silence when it comes to Ross—at least until mandatory minicamp That's a far cry from a year ago when Ross was the talk of the town for the entire spring and summer.

The good news for Ross is that he was turning heads as of last weekend with some impressive catches at minicamp. Check out what The Athletic's Nate Taylor had to say after watching him for a few days of late spring practices.

The good news for the third-year wideout is that there's plenty of summer runway left for him to climb the depth chart. No one will remember who was hyped at OTAs but the preseason is another matter. From mandatory minicamp to training camp, new narratives will emerge. Maybe we'll feel the hype train once again.