PHILADELPHIA -- John Ross knows he's as fast as he was when he ran a then-record 4.22 at the NFL Combine seven years ago. Ross knows it sounds crazy to say that, but he upped the ante.

"I think I'm faster," Ross said.

Why does Ross think he's faster? His mental state of mind is in the right place, no longer having to live up to the pressure of being a top 10 pick in the draft. He's just John Ross, a wide receiver with the right mentality looking to hit the reset button on his NFL career.

"Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I can run a 4.15 or anything," Ross said. "I just feel better, so I can consistently be faster. That was my biggest thing. Can this guy go every single day and look the same every single day?

"I feel I'm getting to the point where I can be consistent with my speed. That's the biggest blessing I can ask for." 

Ross has had quite the journey since being drafted No. 9 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in that 2017 draft. Injuries to his foot, shoulder, and knees hindered Ross' development in Cincinnati, as he fell quickly out of favor in his four years there. Ross had seven touchdowns in 2018, but never amassed more than 508 yards in a season. 

After a year with the New York Giants in 2021, Ross signed a reserve/futures deal with the Kansas City Chiefs in January 2023 before retiring in July. Ross knew immediately he didn't want his football career to end. 

"In my heart, I know who I am," Ross said. "I knew I made a mistake. I'm in a much better place mentally, physically, and even spiritually. I'm actually thankful it happened."

Ross admitted he was at his lowest point at times during his football career, but he got to see everything in a different perspective. He never got away from the game, coaching his 7-year-old son Kyrie before deciding to make a comeback in November. 

It took seven months and a veteran wide receiver (DeVante Parker) to retire, but Ross got his chance in Philadelphia. Ross was at the NovaCare Complex during the rookie tryouts several weeks ago, showing the Philadelphia Eagles enough to take a flyer on him. 

"I was a top 10 draft pick and we all talk about it all the time, like, man, if we ever get to the point where we have to try out, we'll probably be done," Ross said. "But then you get to that point and you're like, you don't have no other choice.

"I was just grateful and thankful. I was happy to be here. It was an opportunity for me to play football again." 

Ross had a solid day in Thursday's open OTA practice, getting an opportunity to work his way back up the depth chart. While Ross is on the third team now, he got open on several routes throughout the day. Kenny Pickett underthrew a pass to an open Ross, as did Tanner McKee

Ross did make a 20-yard catch from Pickett and a sideline grab from the Eagles No. 2 quarterback. He later received a compliment from wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead and wide receiver Parris Campbell on that 20-yard catch from Pickett, one of the better catches of the day from Eagles wideouts. 

There's a chance for Ross to make the Eagles 53-man roster. Outside of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, the rest of the wide receiver room is in flux. Campbell is the early favorite to nab the slot receiver job, but will be challenged by Britain Covey and rookie fifth-round pick Ainias Smith. Covey is also one of the league's best punt returners. 

Joseph Ngata and rookie sixth-round pick Johnny Wilson are the biggest competition for Ross on the outside. The Eagles could also bring in another No. 3 wide receiver in the summer months to compete for a roster spot. 

The goal is simple for Ross in the summer months. The same one he told himself in the rookie tryout.

"When I got on that plane, I told myself, 'Don't come home,'" Ross said. "That was my focus, and it's still my focus now."