John Ross has always moved faster than people expected. Whether it was as an electric do-it-all star for Jordan High or an an All-American receiver at the University of Washington or at the NFL combine, where a year ago he broke the record for the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.29 seconds, Ross has always defied expectation.
Even so, last weekend at Veterans Memorial Stadium was a jaw-dropper.
Ross just completed his rookie season in the NFL, where injuries kept him off the field for the Cincinatti Bengals for most of the year. Given that, he could have been forgiven for doing what most young athletes do, taking his time to find ways to give back.
That’s not what Ross did. At Vets last weekend he held a free football camp for the youth of Long Beach, with five other Long Beach NFLers from Jordan and Poly volunteering alongside him. Then that evening, he hosted a charity flag football game with NFL, NBA, and music stars.
“I didn’t want to wait, I wanted to get out and give back as quickly as I could,” said Ross. “I think it’s important to do that right away, it’s actually be something I’ve thought about since I was a kid.”
That idea didn’t come from a vacuum. The rapper Snoop Dogg might not be seen by most as a charitable figure, but for Ross and his generation of football players in Southern California, that’s what he is. Ross was one of the young players who competed in the Snoop Youth Football League, an elite league paid for by the rapper, who also donated his time to help coach teams.
“When you see someone like that giving back to the community while you grow up, it makes an impression on you,” said Ross.
Snoop Dogg was one of many big names on the field for the charity football game, with DeSean Jackson, the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, and music artists Vince Staples and Trey Songz all drawing big cheers from the stands. Snoop Dogg’s team narrowly edged Ross’, but Ross couldn’t have been happier afterwards.
“We’re going to come back and do this again next year, we want this to be a tradition,” he said.
PHOTOS: John Ross III Charity Football Game w Snoop Dogg, Trey Songz