The Carolina Panthers have signed wide receiver Rashad Ross to a one-year deal. Does the former AAF player have what it takes to make it with the team?
Rashad Ross, a 2013 undrafted free agent wide receiver from Arizona State, has signed a one year contract with the Carolina Panthers.
Since 2013, Ross has been on 11 professional football teams. The Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals were all home to the receiver. He most recently played with the Alliance of American Football’s (AAF) Arizona Hotshots until the league was suspended on April 2. All players in the AAF were released to pursue any NFL offers.
In 2013, Ross joined the Tennessee Titans as a free agent, but only as a practice squad member. After several other stints with various teams, Ross joined the practice squad with the Redskins and the next month was released by them as well. In late December 2014, the team signed him once again, but this time he to a futures contract for the 2015 season.
In September 2015, he became the team’s kickoff returner. However, in 2016 he only played five games with one catch for eight yards. He was released in December.
After joining four more teams’ practice squads, Ross leaped at the opportunity to join the Hotshots in late 2018. Ross led the league with seven touchdowns on 36 receptions and 583 yards when the league prior to th league’s suspension.
In addition to being a kick returner, Ross has also played the position of wide receiver. Although Ross will be solid and stable at wide receiver, fans shouldn’t expect Ross to make a big splash or become a big name; he will instead play quietly and make plays that matter in the background. Carolina already has two solid wide receivers in place with Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore, so Ross will create much-needed depth in this position that should provide fans with a well-deserved sigh of relief.
As a kick returner, Ross earned the nickname, “The Rocket.” When he was with the Washington Redskins, his top speed was recorded at 21.5 miles per hour on a 101-yard kick return for a touchdown when playing against the New York Giants. Carolina will be able to utilize that speed and retain the same level of play as when Samuel or Moore are on the field if the team maximizes Ross’ talent and uses him in both positions and in place of Damiere Byrd, who was released from Carolina at the end of the 2018 season.