For the indoor football running back, see Derrick Ross
|No. 20, 25, 21, 37|
|Born:||January 5, 1980|
Rock Hill, South Carolina
(Rock Hill, South Carolina)
|NFL Draft:||2002 / Round: 3 / Pick: 75|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Derek Ross (born January 5, 1980) is a former American football cornerback in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings. He played college football at Ohio State University.
As a senior, his team finished second in the state with a 12-3 record. He was the South Carolina Offensive Player of the Year and an All-state selection at quarterback, registering 1,671 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, 1,267 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. At cornerback he had 15 career interceptions. He was arrested four times during his high school career.
Ross accepted a football scholarship from Ohio State University. As a freshman, he was converted into a cornerback and appeared in every game. He blocked 3 punts on special teams, including one against Shane Lechler in the 1999 Sugar Bowl, that was returned by Kevin Griffin for a touchdown.
In 1999, he did not play football after being ruled academically ineligible. As a sophomore, he was the team's third cornerback, registering 37 tackles (4 for loss), 2 interceptions and 7 passes defensed. He earned his first start in the 2001 Outback Bowl against the University of South Carolina.
As a junior, he was suspended for spring practice after pleading guilty for driving without a license and providing false information. He started 10 games at cornerback, playing the season with a sprained AC joint and a broken bone in his shoulder. He led the Big Ten Conference with 7 interceptions (fifth in school history and third best in the nation), while also tallying 194 interception return yards (school record), 13 passes defensed, 41 tackles (3 for loss), one sack, one forced fumble and one touchdown.
He declared for the NFL draft before his senior season. He finished his college career with 217 interception return yards (fourth in school history), 91 tackles, 9 interceptions, 20 passes defensed and 3 blocked punts.
Ross was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round (75th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft, after dropping because of character concerns. He earned his first start at left cornerback in the fourth game against the St. Louis Rams, replacing an injured Duane Hawthorne. He was considered a rising player after starting 9 games and leading all rookies with 5 interceptions, which was also the most by a Cowboys rookie since Everson Walls registered 11 interceptions in 1981. He missed the final 2 games with a hip contusion. He also had 12 passes defensed (led the team) and 67 tackles (ninth on the team).
In 2003, he started to have issues with new head coach Bill Parcells, losing his nickelback responsibilities. Parcells called him "a street player", because he relied heavily on his athletic abilities to cover wide receivers. He missed the first six games with a right knee injury and was eventually waived on December 2, after fumbling twice while returning kickoffs in a Thanksgiving loss against the Miami Dolphins, then proceeding to miss a team session the next day and a mandatory charity-related hospital visit.
On December 3, 2003, the Atlanta Falcons claimed him off waivers, but he only played in two regular season games. On August 17, 2004, he was released after missing more than a week of training camp with knee tendinitis.
In August 2005, Ross was arrested and charged with drug trafficking and conspiracy to traffic drugs.