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WR Justyn Ross turning heads at Chiefs training camp 

The 2023 Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver shuffle includes a bevy of question marks following the departures of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman.

Much of the offseason queries have revolved around whether Kadarius Toney can stay healthy and develop into a No. 1 target and Skyy Moore raising his play in Year 2. But there is another wild card on the roster gaining steam early in training camp: Justyn Ross.

As a freshman at Clemson in 2018, Ross flashed major upside, catching 46 passes for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns, including some ridiculous grabs that portended an exciting NFL career. However, he missed all of 2020 after being diagnosed with Klippel-Feil syndrome, a congenital fusion of his spine requiring surgery.

Ross went undrafted in 2022 amid injury concerns about his neck and back before latching on with the Chiefs. However, following foot surgery, he missed the entire Super Bowl run after going on injured reserve in July.

Now, Ross has been getting some run with Patrick Mahomes and the 1s during camp practices and turning heads along the way.

"Yeah, he's doing good. It was a redshirt year he probably didn't want to have right with the injury," head coach Andy Reid said on Wednesday, via the team's official transcript. "But he's done nice job, he had a good offseason, and then he's worked his tail off here. He just needs to keep doing that. It's how you answer the bell every day and push through it, but he's got the right mindset to do that."

That redshirt season should help Ross push for playing time in the Chiefs' reshuffled wideout room, particularly if Toney continues to deal with injury and rookie Rashee Rice takes time to develop.

"Yeah, he's had a good one," Mahomes said of Ross. "(He is) learning the offense fast, you can tell he's been in the offense for a year now. Obviously, making big plays, he's getting more and more involved in those first-team reps, and so a guy that I have a lot of hope for that he can be a really good player in this offense."

With the pads coming on during camp, Ross has had a chance to get hit for the first time in months. During practice, safety Justin Reid popped Ross on a catch over the middle of the field on Friday. It was a key moment for the young wideout.

"I feel like it will be important just knowing I can go out there, take real good hits and everything like that," Ross said. "I feel very confident in myself. (I) feel like it will be real good for me."

K.C.'s first preseason game on Aug. 13 will mark exactly 21 months since Ross has played in a game. He's looking forward to showing he can push for a roster spot.

"Just to take advantage of the opportunity. You never know what the future may bring, but right now, I'm just taking it day-by-day, step-by-step, really," he said.

Once dubbed a "first-round talent" by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, Ross combines size, hands and run-after-catch ability. The 6-foot-4 wideout owns the talent. The key with Ross has always been health. If he makes the initial 53-man roster, he could become an under-the-radar playmaker for Mahomes and the offense in 2023.

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