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Ted Ginn Jr. Went From Major Bust to No. 1Receiver

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When Ted Ginn Jr. left Ohio State 10 years ago, fans and media alike expected him to be a star at the next level. After all, Ginn was one of the most explosive athletes we’ve seen in the collegiate ranks.

Former Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel used to throw Ginn all over the field, from wide receiver to running back to kick and punt returns.

However, Ginn’s transition to the NFL was far from smooth.

When the Miami Dolphins selected Ginn with the ninth-overall pick in 2006, he was suppose to be the piece to give Miami a much needed boost offensively.

Unfortunately, the marriage in South Beach was a disaster for both parties.

During his three seasons in a Dolphins uniform, Ginn only caught 128 passes to go along with four touchdowns. Following his disappointing stay in Florida, Ginn was traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a fifth round draft pick.

After receiving a change of scene, some believed Ginn would begin to turn the corner, but that was far from being the case. The 5-foot-11 receiver totaled a whopping 33 catches for 777 yards and one touchdown in 40 games.

Yes, one touchdown in 40 games.

With that being said, things began to look upward in the midst of the 2013 campaign.

The Carolina Panthers signed Ginn in hopes of him providing them an explosive return attack, however, he was much more than that as he sparked their passing game.

Ginn finished the season with just 36 catches for 556 yards, but he pitched in five touchdowns, four for 25 yards or more, including the game-winner in a Monday night contest against the New England Patriots.

Versus keeping Ginn around, Carolina allowed him to walk to the Arizona Cardinals on a three-year deal, but he would only stay in the desert one season after being released.

In Ginn’s lone season in the red and white, he only snatched down 14 passes for 190 yards without sniffing the end zone once.

Surprisingly, there was still a market for Ginn last off-season, as the Titans, Browns and 49ers all showed interest, but at the end of the day, Ginn ultimately made his return to North Carolina.

Upon bringing Ginn back, the belief was that he would be a nice complement to top pass catcher Kelvin Benjamin. When Benjamin went down before the season with a torn ACL, Ginn was left as the team’s top receiver.

At that juncture, everyone was counting the Panthers out because of what appeared to be a lack of talent surrounding Cam Newton.

“Yeah. We understood that we were a whole bunch of misfits and different things like that,” Ginn stated. ‘We don’t have a receiving corps’, yeah we heard it. But we knew what we had in the room and collectively we came together as a group to make it work. That’s all you can do.”

Ginn stepped up in a way no one could’ve ever imagined.

He finished the regular season with 44 catches, 739 yards and 10 touchdowns, which is a career-high.

If you let Ginn tell it, he knew he was capable of performing like this all along.

“When you come out as a number one pick and you go to a team and you’re supposed to help them but at the end of the day it wasn’t like he was the saving day for the squad. I needed help. As I got out of there it was said that I’d just be a third or fourth type of receiver,” Ginn stressed. “That’s how it went for so long until this year and (I) showed that I could be a guy. I could be what you got me in the first round for.”

Ginn may be inconsistent, but he has the one thing that you can’t teach that also keeps defensive coordinators up at night- World class speed- He can blow the top off of a defense.  With one of the best deep ball throwers in football in Newton, he has maximized his talent in Charlotte.

As Super Bowl 50 approaches, Ginn is looking to show the world once and for all that he’s here to stay.  He is a 16:1 favorite to win MVP honors in the big game, but don’t be surprised if the former Buckeye gets free and puts on a show.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.