VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — Growing up in Texas, Richard Ross was surrounded by football. In high school, he had scholarship offers from TCU and Baylor, but decided to play college basketball at Old Dominion.
“When you are young, you follow your heart,” Ross said. “I was in love with playing basketball and it was more of a challenge, I had to work so much harder. I had a chip on my shoulder and felt I had to prove people wrong.”
Ross is now returning to his football roots, trying to make it in the NFL.
“It’s an idea I’ve had in the back of my mind for some time, I’ve always thought about football, what could have been.”
Now, it’s what could be. When ODU’s basketball season ended, Ross started working off the football rust.
“I like his chances,” said Anthony Stringfield, Ross’s trainer.
“I get a lot o f guys that hope to make it, we are trying to make teams go back and watch film from their four years of college football to get one workout. Then you get guys like Richard who decide they want to play and teams come knocking at the door.”
The Vikings, Chargers and Redskins have all come to watch Ross in private work out sessions.
“Big thing, I like how plucks the ball out of the air. once he gets on a team and gets the proper coaching they are going to help him with his route running,” Stringfield said.
There is a precedent here. Antonio Gates played college basketball at Kent State, never played college football, and has played 12 seasons in the NFL.
“I guess it helps make you realize you are not completely crazy, at least one other person has attempted it and done it before,” Ross said.
Ross stands 6′ 6″, weighs nearly 240 pounds, and Stringfield says his best time in the 40 was a 4.5.
If is Ross is drafted, he’ll be a late round selection, if not, he’ll try to sign with a team as a free agent, and he says he’s not sure he’ll be watching the draft.
“That’s a lot of anxiety to deal with. I might actually go shoot some free throws or catch some passes.”