Chicagobears.com | The Official Website of the Chicago Bears

Blazing speed remains Ginn's best attribute

ginn_main_050620

Star pitcher Satchel Paige would often say that fellow Baseball Hall of Famer James "Cool Papa" Bell was so fast that he could turn the light out and be in bed before his room got dark.

A similar sentiment could be expressed about new Bears receiver/return specialist Ted Ginn Jr., who has been considered one of the NFL's fastest players since he entered the league in 2007 as a first-round draft pick with the Dolphins.

Even at 35 years old, Ginn still possesses blazing speed.

"I can still run," he said Wednesday during an introductory video teleconference with the media. "That's my attribute. I can run. I can catch. I can jump. Don't let the age and the years fool you."

Ginn has appeared in 187 NFL games with 83 starts over 13 seasons with the Dolphins (2007-09), 49ers (2010-12), Panthers (2013 and 2015-16), Cardinals (2014) and Saints (2017-19), catching 409 passes for 5,702 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Last season with New Orleans, Ginn caught 30 passes for 421 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 16 games with nine starts. In Week 1 on Monday Night Football, he had seven receptions for 101 yards in a 30-28 win over the Texans.

Ginn will provide the Bears with a deep threat who can take the top off defenses, something the team lacked on a consistent basis last year when injuries limited speedy receiver Taylor Gabriel to nine games. It's the same role that Ginn filled the past three seasons with the Saints.

"It won't be different," he said. "I bring speed. I bring that element of stretching the field, so I know I'll be helping that role."

Ginn had other options in free agency, but signed a one-year contract with the Bears due in large part to coach Matt Nagy.

"Me and Nagy had a couple of good conversations throughout this process that made me decide that it was a great fit for me and my family," Ginn said. "Being at this age and having a 'want' for you is a crazy amazing feeling to have. So just for somebody to really have the want for me at this time and on this stage, why not? Why would you turn that down?"

Ginn is eager to work with Nagy, saying: "He's a great coach, very down-to-earth, trusting his players a lot, trusting his system a lot, willing to work with you with how you play."

With NFL team facilities and public gyms closed due to the coronavirus, Ginn is staying in shape by biking 20-30 miles every two or three days. The restrictions created by COVID-19 have kept him from meeting his new teammates and coaches in-person. However, Ginn has been participating in the Bears' virtual offseason program, sitting in on meetings led by receivers coach Mike Furrey and learning the offense on an iPad.

"It's just getting on the line whenever you can with whoever you can," Ginn said. "I have my 45 [minute] or hour meetings with my position coach throughout the days. We might be on there twice a day. We might be on there once. It might be 30 minutes. You call different players.

"[I'm] just writing my stuff out and wrapping myself around the playbook the best way I know how so I could be able to be in the best shape to come in and take it once we get in."

Ginn enjoys the energy that Furrey brings to the video meetings, saying: "He kind of reminds me a little bit of [Saints coach] Sean Payton; into his players, into your feedback, making sure that you're paying attention and different things like that."

Ginn has reached the playoffs in nine of his 13 NFL seasons, including three straight years and eight of the last nine since 2011. He has enough experience to know that all successful teams share some of the same positive characteristics.

"Just coming together," Ginn said. "Just believing all in the same goal, no matter if you're a coach or you're a player, and being able to have no distractions on and off the field. Always having the young guys ready to come up whoever it is. In this league, you're a starter at all times and if you teach everybody the same way you teach your starters, you don't miss a step."

Advertising

Advertising