Established professionals — two currently playing, one retired — are talking, and Cincinnati Bengals second-year wide receiver John Ross is listening.
Ross, the ninth overall pick of the 2017 draft, had a rookie campaign to forget after appearing in three games and posting no catches. His season ended after a shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve.
Armed with valuable information from teammates and Houshmandzadeh, Ross hopes to put his disappointing rookie season behind him and show he can be the player the Bengals saw in him leading up to the 2017 draft.
Last year I let everything get to me, Ross said. “I let my injury get to me. I was trying to do more than I could. I was out of shape. I’m not trying to make excuses, but it’s real life things. You can’t just come in the NFL and be that guy. You have to come in and prepare. I’ve learned that. It’s growth and progression from here on.”
I think it’s less pressure for us because the Kentucky Derby, for me, it was so special, Baffert said. “Coming in here I feel the same as I did when I won it with the other ones.”
Baffert won the Derby and Preakness with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002 and American Pharoah three years ago.
Justify will face three other challengers from the Derby — Good Magic, Lone Sailor and Bravazo — and four horses who skipped it to point to the Preakness — Quip, Tenfold, Sporting Chance and Diamond King.
After Justify and Good Magic, No. 1 Quip is third at 12-1. No. 2 Lone Sailor is 15-1, No. 6 Tenfold and No. 8 Bravazo are 20-1 and No. 3 Sporting Chance and No. 4 Diamond King are 30-1 on the morning line.
If Justify runs his best race, the rest of the field could be running for second place.