Highlights from Monday’s media availability with Carolina Panthers receiver Ted Ginn.
What was last year like in Arizona?
“It was tough, going out and chasing a check that at the end of the day that I couldn’t really get.”
Can you expand on that “chasing a check” statement?
“You only have a short window in this league, so you just gotta go and do what’s good for your family. At the end of the day, I don’t think going out there was best for my family. I think being here was the best thing for me. It’s only a short window to go out and get what you can get, so I just praise God that they had their hands open for me to be able to return. Now that I’m here I have to put all that I can do in, and show what I have on and off the field to be a Panther.”
So do you regret trying to get that money?
“No, not at all. Like I said, you gotta do what you do for your family. The best thing about the whole situation is coming back somewhere where somebody likes you.”
Was last year the toughest year of your career?
“Oh yeah, definitely. In Miami, I was a young boy. We never had it how we wanted it, other than our second year. We took that team to the playoffs, and I was leading receiver. I had my ups and downs there, and those were growing pains, getting traded and all of that in San Francisco, having new eyes on you looking at you. Once they knew what I had, they let me go. Coming here, my seventh year with the Panthers, they gave me everything I could ask for. Then going to Arizona, they just shut me back down. To come back here and get another life is great.”
Did Arizona give you an explanation for your lack of playing time?
“It wasn’t. I know the deal being nine years in the NFL, me and [Cardinals’ receiver] Jon Brown came in together, and I’m the guy with the money, but he’s the guy making the team. You just have to go with the flow.”
How close were you to ending up in Cleveland?
“It was a distance. You know, I’m from Cleveland, I’m in the city. I believe that a lot of people in the media there who saw me as a kid, it was just what they wanted. They tried their hardest to put it out there because I was an Ohio guy, an Ohio State guy, a Glenville guy, and the things my father does at the school up, and things like that … I think it was more media than the Cleveland Browns.”
But you did talk to them, right?
“My agent talked to the Browns for whatever reason, but it wasn’t like we wanted it to be. At the end of the day, I’m in the best place for me. I’m here with Cam Newton and a gunslinger like he is.”
Why has it worked for you in Carolina when it hasn’t in other spots?
“I would say the way I’m used. The confidence that Cam has in me, the confidence we have on certain plays and certain routes. Ricky Proehl has been a big influence in that. It’s a blessing to have a guy who tells you what to do then is going to fight for you on the table, so you can go out there and play. Whatever comes out of his mouth has been true.”
Did you follow the Panthers last year?
“I talked to Ricky Proehl for the first six or seven weeks of the season. Asking him, ‘Come back and get me (laughs).’ We stayed in touch, and it grabbed at me when Arizona lost to the Panthers last year, because Thomas Davis walked up to me and said, ‘Leave your stuff in the visitors locker room, we’re on our way.’ That showed me that everyone still had confidence in me. Everyone shook my hand, from [Dave] Gettleman on down. That was the biggest thing for me, that when I come out of this situation to go somewhere I know I’m loved, and the Panthers was a no-brainer.”
What was it like coming back with a new receiving corps?
“It was kind of tough going from a semi-older guy to one of the older guys. It’s been great, though … Our older guys like [Jerricho] Cotchery and me, then there’s [Kelvin] Benjamin being the youngest but the most of a perfectionist at the time right now. He sits back and learns from us, and we learn from him.”
What are the differences between you and Corey Brown?
“I believe we both come with the same abilities in different ways. I believe we’re both phenoms when it comes down to get a ball. The one-two punch that we have should be great.”
Is this offense a perfect fit for you?
“It’s a perfect fit for me and ‘Philly.’ You got two fast guys, two big, 6-5 guys, and you got Greg Olsen and then the backs that we have and then Cam. We have a great chance and schemes of how coaches put things together. It comes up in different ways that we can be great.”
Are you faster than [Panthers’ receiver] Damiere Byrd?
“Oh yes. No disrespect but I get a little edgy when people talk about fast.”
Are you fastest on the team?
Can you describe the play in practice the other day when you jumped over the fence?
“Cam read the coverage and gave me a signal, it turned out to be a double move, and he put it out there. It’s my job to go get it, and that’s what I did. That ain’t nothing but building confidence between both of us that he can lay it out there, and I can go get it, and vice versa. At the end of that we just had to protect ourselves. I’m glad me and Chris Houston were able to get over that gate when running up on it so fast. I think that comes from my track days being a hurdle. I got a lot of hurdles come up fast.”
What’s on the other side of that fence?
“We landed on grass. Luckily, Chris missed a kids face by half a centimeter, and I missed running up on a kid playing in the back area, like a toddler who was sitting on carpet, and I missed him by a step. So, I know his mom is happy.”