2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Panthers' Ginn looks to capitalize on fresh start

    2013-06-13 02:14

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Ted Ginn Jr. has never liked being labeled a ``specialist.''

Now the six-year NFL veteran is looking to take advantage of a ``fresh start'' with the Carolina Panthers and prove to critics he can still play wide receiver in the NFL and be more than just a returner.

Ginn, the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft, left the San Francisco 49ers this offseason as a free agent after what he called a ``tough season.'' Although the 49ers reached the Super Bowl, Ginn was pretty much a non-factor in the passing game, catching only two passes.

He was used in the return game, primarily on kickoffs, but Ginn said he's ready to contribute more.

``I want to show the world that I can still play receiver,'' Ginn said. ``I got kind of bashed over the years, being labeled a specialist.''

It wasn't always that way.

During his first three seasons in the league with the Miami Dolphins, Ginn averaged 43 receptions and was used frequently as a ball carrier on reverses, as well as on special teams as a kickoff and punt returner.

But it wasn't enough production for the Dolphins, who traded Ginn to the 49ers for a fifth-round draft pick after three seasons.

Over the last three seasons in San Francisco, Ginn's playing time in the offense dwindled.

He caught 31 passes in his first two seasons in the Bay Area before disappearing almost completely in 2012. This past year he fumbled four times, losing three, which didn't help matters.

But he still can't pinpoint why he never really got much of a shot on offense.

``You kind of get caught up in the politics a little bit, that side of the game,'' Ginn said. ``You just have to roll with the punches and keep your name clean and your name right.

He's eager for a fresh start.

``I want to get back on track,'' Ginn said. ``Last year was a tough season. We went to the Super Bowl. But individually, I didn't feel like I got the proper reps I was supposed to.''

Ginn has impressed the Panthers so far in OTAs and minicamp and has coach Ron Rivera and quarterback Cam Newton singing his praises.

During Tuesday's practice Ginn turned heads when he raced down the sidelines, beat his defender and hauled in a perfectly thrown ball from Newton in stride for a touchdown. His offensive teammates roared with approval.

``Ted has been a spark,'' Newton said. ``Everyone knows he's fast. I found that out the hard way.''

Newton points to a practice where Ginn outran one of his throws and had to slow down to try to make the catch.

``He kind of embarrassed me so I told him, `Ted, from now on you will never outrun my football,''' Newton said with a laugh. ``So if y'all see a pass and it's overthrown and No. 19 is the intended receiver, just know that it's pride more than anything with him. He will not outrun my football.''

The Panthers are still practicing in shorts, so there's only so much you can tell about the players.

But Rivera said he's been impressed with Ginn's speed.

``That's part of the reason he's here, obviously. We know that with his speed he can blow the lid off, and he's showing it,'' Rivera said. ``But it also helps on quick underneath routes because with his speed, he gets the ball, sticks his leg in the ground, makes a cut and goes vertical. A 5-yard pass can turn into a 25-yard gain before you know it.''

Where Ginn might fit in the offense remains a mystery.

Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell are locked in as the starters, while the team signed Domenik Hixon from the New York Giants to compete with Ginn and others for the No. 3 receiver spot.

``Coming to Carolina, we have a great squad and a great team here,'' Ginn said. ``I'm just trying to come out and show them my talent and provide what I can provide on special teams, as well as at receiver.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

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Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

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Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

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D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

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Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

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Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

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DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

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Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

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Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

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Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

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