Ted Ginn, Jr.’s draft stock was lofty even before his 2006 season began.
Then Devin Hester showed just how immediate the return on a returner can be.
The Bears’ run to their first NFC championship in 21 years placed Hester in the spotlight. His five regular-season touchdowns on runbacks — and his Super Bowl-opening kickoff return that represented the quickest score in the XLI-year history of the game — showed how a game-breaking returner can reap a spectacular harvest, particularly when viewed through the prism of the Bears’ bouts with offensive difficulty throughout the year.
“I’m a fan,” Ginn said.
Hester and Ginn have never been teammates, and their paths never crossed for a duel during their days at Miami and Ohio State, respectively. But Ginn knows that the former ‘Cane may have provided his résumé more of a boost than he could possibly imagine.
“He helps me out a lot, the things he does as far as punt returning and kickoff returning,” Ginn acknowledged. “Me being in that field, it helps me out a lot.”
Of course, Ginn isn’t exactly modest about whether he feels he can do what Hester did. He scored on one of every 14 punt or kickoff returns last fall (three on 42 runbacks) and once on every 13.25 returns throughout his college career, averaging 14.1 yards a punt return and 26.6 a kickoff return in the process.
“If (Hester) can do it, I believe I can do it,” Ginn said. “I’m not trying to be cocky, but we do have the same abilities and same type speed. I believe if he can go out and do it I can do it, too.”
The first step towards that end, however, is to work out for scouts. A sprained food has him sidelined here, and could keep him out of OSU’s Pro Day on March 10.
Sitting out the Combine, however, was not his choice. As he insisted Thursday: “If I was healthy, I would have (run).”
And with good reason, because when he ran with the football in Columbus, good things often followed.