After six disappointing seasons in Miami and San Francisco, it seemed like time was running out for wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. to ever live up to his status as the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. However, earlier in March, the 28 year old receiver got another chance to revive his career – this time with the Carolina Panthers, a team that desperately needed veteran depth at the wide receiver and returner positions.
At the time of the signing, it was assumed that Ginn would exclusively be a special teams player as a kick and punt returner. However, the Panthers coaches seem to have other plans, as in addition to his return duties, they are giving him plenty of snaps at wide receiver at the Panthers OTA’s.
Panthers Coach Ron Rivera has been impressed with Ginn’s performance:
"You hear things from the outside about players. But then when you see him for yourself, and you sit there and you go, ‘Wow.’ Watching Ted’s speed, his quickness, his route-running – and he’s catching everything right now. So we’re real excited about that, and his potential as far as a return man"
Could Ginn play a role in the Panthers offense? Based on Rivera’s comments, it’s definitely possible.
"You want to put the ball in the hands of your playmakers, and that’s what we’re focusing on and talking about in terms of offensively," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "What can we do to get enough touches for the guys who can make plays?
Ginn offers elite speed, as he ran a 4.28 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine. Panthers Wide Receiver Coach Ricky Proehl has also noticed this:
"He can really take the top off a defense," wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl said. "You don’t find guys like that. They’re hard to find that have that ability to run by people. This league is so talented. You got linebackers that run 4.5s. You got defensive linemen running 4.6s."
"To find someone with that elite speed is hard, and Ted possesses that kind of speed."
Quarterback Cam Newton seems excited with Ginn’s potential in the offense, as he called him a ‘bullet in the chamber’ for the Panthers offense.
Steve Smith has also noticed:
''You can tell he's really thirsty and wants that opportunity,'' Smith said of Ginn. ''He's acting like 'Hey I want to win somebody's job.'
Although the odds are stacked against him, it will be interesting to watch his performance this offseason. Opportunities like this are hard to come by in the NFL, and it seems like Ted Ginn is making the most of what could be his last chance to revive his NFL career.