Super Bowl

Ted Ginn finds success after leaving Dolphins, says criticism in Miami was fair

Carolina Panthers' Ted Ginn (19) returns a punt during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J.
Carolina Panthers' Ted Ginn (19) returns a punt during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP

Ted Ginn Jr. and the entire Ginn family.

In Miami, it’s a pejorative, a punch line, an easy way to sum up one of the most notorious picks in recent Dolphins history.

It was the night of the NFL Draft in 2007. The Dolphins had just selected Ginn ninth overall. The move went over like a lead balloon.

At the team’s draft party, then-coach Cam Cameron got lustily booed. He tried to justify the pick by saying the team wasn’t just picking Ginn, but rather his whole family, including his father, Ted Sr.

It didn’t help.

Fast-forward nine years, and the family is long gone from South Florida.

But Ginn, back in the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons, still rolls deep. His father, a legendary high school coach in Ohio, is still his rock.

“My father has been my coach my whole life,” Ginn said. “Without him, there is no me.”

Dad, Mom, his wife and kids will of course be in the stands Sunday, as Ginn — now on the Carolina Panthers — is back on football’s grandest stage.

Even still, Ginn can’t escape his checkered legacy in Miami. He literally will be wearing it on his sleeve.

Ginn rocks the No. 19 jersey. He did so in Miami, too.

The number’s significance: It was Ginn’s draft position.

The one represents the first round, the nine the ninth pick.

No one can argue that Ginn was overdrafted. He has never caught 60 passes in a season. He has never come close to 1,000 yards.

In Miami, he was never a No. 1 receiver. A deep threat? Yes. But it seemed his first impulse after catching a pass was to find the ground — if the sidelines were too far away.

“Yeah it was fair,” Ginn said of the criticism he took. “It’s part of the deal. Without a little criticism, you won’t be who you be.”

Not much changed during his three seasons in San Francisco — except team success. He caught a total of 33 passes in his three seasons with the 49ers, and when San Francisco went to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season, Ginn was basically a return specialist.

“Those guys have been playing lights out since Day One,” Cam Newton said of Carolina’s wide receivers, then referenced Ginn, “who was a bust for so many people.”

The bust has blown up.

Ginn still doesn’t run people over. Instead, he runs right past them.

Now Ginn is the No. 1 downfield option for what might go down as one of the best teams in NFL history. And the Panthers know just how to use him — run fast, in a straight line.

Ginn had arguably the best season of his career — 44 catches for 739 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns. His 16.8 yards per reception were also his best ever.

So how did he turn it around? How did he go from a pariah to a big piece of the puzzle?

“I think it’s about how you were raised,” Ginn said. “It’s all about your background. The background that I had, I was a fighter all my life. So when times like this come up, we just go into war mode.”

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments