Chiefs WR Justyn Ross Lands On Commissioner Exempt List

Justyn Ross will not be available for the Chiefs going forward. After an arrest on misdemeanor domestic battery and misdemeanor property damage charges this week, Ross landed on the Commissioner Exempt list Friday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets.

Placement on the list will prevent the second-year wide receiver from practicing or playing in games for the Chiefs. Kansas City signed Ross as a UDFA in 2022, marking an opportunity for a player who was once on track to be a highly drafted receiver. A neck injury at Clemson scuttled those hopes, and a foot injury nixed Ross’ rookie season. His career is now at an early crossroads.

Used when unusual circumstances cloud a player’s status, the exempt list is essentially paid leave. While players frequently play after arrests — as recent Chiefs defensive end pickup Charles Omenihu did after a domestic violence charge before the 2022 NFC championship game — and face suspensions at later dates, the seldom-utilized exempt list will prevent Ross from suiting up. Ross had been active for the Chiefs’ first seven games.

Ross was arrested Monday following an incident involving his ex-girlfriend. The alleged victim said in a 911 call Ross was “dragging her through the house and has torn up the house.” TMZ also reported Ross broke his ex-girlfriend’s phone, as she called police from a neighbor’s house. Ross, 23, pleaded not guilty to both charges. Ross, who could also face a suspension once this matter is adjudicated, must appear in court Dec. 4.

The above-referenced neck injury halted Ross’ promising run at Clemson. Joining Tee Higgins as a key Trevor Lawrence target for a 2018 Tigers team that won a national championship, Ross totaled 1,000 yards and nine touchdown receptions as a freshman. He remained in a prominent role as a sophomore, but the injury kept him off the field as a junior and altered his draft trajectory. Ross returned in 2021 but only tallied 514 yards (11.2 per catch) and went undrafted. Thus far with the Chiefs, Ross has three catches for 34 yards.

While Ross flashed during Kansas City’s preseason slate, the 6-foot-4 pass catcher has not carved out a steady role in an inconsistent receiving corps. Issues separating in practice have plagued the young receiver. Although Ross remains a developmental player, this arrest could certainly affect his chances of remaining with the Chiefs going forward.

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