Ted Ginn Jr. is now a student and a teacher.
Ginn enters the season as the Bears' oldest player and the NFL's second-oldest wide receiver. Only Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald can boast of more life experience, having arrived in the NFL three years before the Miami Dolphins made Ginn the 10th pick of the 2007 draft. After three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Ginn is again learning a new playbook.
"You just have to go back to when you were in college," said Ginn. "You just gotta study, do your homework. I think that's something that I did. I came in, I picked it up pretty easily and pretty well. [I'm] just going out and just showing what I have."
Ginn is now nearly 14 years removed from his last play in college: a kick returned for a touchdown in the National Championship Game. However, the veteran receiver has seen his fair share of ups and downs. Ginn is one of the rare receivers who has had more success in his 30s than in his 20s.
Ginn is happy to play the mentor role to the younger receivers on the team. He has been impressed with what he's seen so far.
"They showed a lot," said Ginn. "[Javon] Wims had a great camp as well as Riley [Ridley]. They came in and took care of business. I see them coming in and making plays for us. I really don't know how it's going to go, but they both came in and hats off to them. They both got great hands. They both run great routes. I learned a couple of things from them guys being in this offense."
Ginn has also been impressed by some of his more established teammates. Ginn expects big things from Anthony Miller, who recorded 52 catches for 656 yards last season.
"Anthony is a great guy," said Ginn. "You know, a young kid, coming in, going on his third year, he's flourishing. Great thing you do is give him the background about what goes on in this league and how to get open and keep playing this game. He's a young guy that's ready to learn. We just go out every day, and we just compete. I help him get better, and he helps me get better. That's the way the game goes."
Ginn didn't come to Chicago only to teach younger players. He's prepared to play a significant role in an offense looking to reboot after a frustrating 2019 season.
"You just gotta go out and just put it together," said Ginn. "That's something that the coaches will do. Just gotta be ready for everything. That's how I came into this deal — just ready, eager, want to play, and don't mind my age, just continue to play. Go out and just take care of business. This is a great team. Considered young because I'm the oldest. Just come on out and just give them my knowledge and the way I know how to play this game and just be ready to play."
Ginn's career has spanned a series of events outside his control—the 2011 lockout, for example—but due to COVID-19, 2020 may contain the strangest circumstances yet. However, Ginn feels fine about the way his time in Chicago has started.
"As long as you're playing football, it's really all the same," said Ginn. "Just different time schedules, different things like that that you have to adjust to. But it's been pretty good. Being here in Chicago, [coach Matt] Nagy has put a great schedule together for us. We come out and get our work done."