"You can always Google me now," poignantly said Ted Ginn, Jr. as he reflected on his legacy after announcing his retirement from the NFL on Friday.
From his days in little league to the pros, he stands on the memories he made playing a sport he truly loved.
Ginn's father and family have been the backbone of Ted Ginn, Jr. His father, Ted Ginn, Sr. is well-known as an Akron, Ohio high school coach of football and track state champions.
He has mentored many young athletes to make it to the NFL, including his son, Ted Ginn, Jr. The Ginns' connection to Louisiana stems from Senior being a native of the state.
GINN, JR. IN NEW ORLEANS
Junior brought the Ginn family full circle when he signed a three-year, $11M deal as a free-agent wideout with New Orleans on March 9, 2017.
Saints fans can rattle off the best punt and kick returners in the team's history. Ted Ginn Jr.'s special teams' accomplishments will be overshadowed by the Saints' returners like Joe Gilliam, Tyrone Hughes, Micheal Lewis, Darren Sproles, and Deonte Harris. Since 2007, only Josh Cribbs (10,844 yds), Devin Hester (9,900 yds), and Darren Sproles (9,677) eclipse Ginn's 9,523 yards of most combined return yards in the NFL.
GINN: "ULTIMATE TEAM PLAYER"
The reason. New Orleans' rare usage of Ginn as a returner totaled 26 combined returns for a meager 160 yards. His primary role was to be Michael Thomas' No. 2 receiver. Supporting his fellow Ohio State alum and adding speed as a 'deep threat' was his forte with the Saints.
Brees did not take plenty of deep shots to Ginn, but when he did, they were potent. Ginn gave Saints quarterbacks 86.7 (2018) and 82.5 (2019) ratings when he was targeted in the offense. He arrived in 2017, and it was his best statistical season with the team. Ginn caught 53 passes for 787 yards with a 75.7% catch rate.
Ginn's production decreased in 2018 and 2019. New Orleans placed him on injured reserve due to a knee injury and he played 5 games that season. In 2019, he dropped balls seven footballs. Still, head coach Sean Payton kept Ginn in the offensive strategy and he knew his role.
Playing second fiddle to Michael Thomas wasn't an easy task. Quietly, Ginn's best asset was his ability to extend drives - especially for Brees. His 66 receptions for first downs were critical.
But none wasn't more significant than when he leaped to snag Brees' 43-yard pass over the Rams' Joyner in the 2019 NFC Championship game with 2:00 minutes remaining in the contest. His play set up the Saints at the 13-yard line and primed to send the team to Super Bowl 53. Sadly, the NOLA NO CALL erased the Saints' chances at a second Lombardi Trophy, but Ginn did his part to help.
In his three seasons with the Saints, Ginn notched 100 receptions for 1,417 yards and eight touchdowns.
NFL Network's Total Access' Andrew Hawkins asked of Ginn, Jr., "what you want your legacy to be when those [young] guys talk about the career of Ted Ginn Jr?"
Ginn reflected, "I mean, respectful, dedicated played his heart out every time, respected again, always looked out for the next man.
One of the most ultimate team players. Never was a selfish guy. Played his role and in every role that he had to played no matter if he was the number one guy, or number five.
I came into this league as a special teamer, got the opportunity to be a receiver. And just put my head down and just stuck to it. And if any kid, if I could do it any kid can do it."
Ted Ginn, Jr. on NFL Total Access
In some ways, Ginn, Jr.'s importance was understated as the Saints No. 2 across from Thomas. Looking back on his days, he brought stability to the position and cleared a path for Thomas to amass receptions and records.
His stint was short in New Orleans, but Ted Ginn, Jr.'s impact and his role was truly appreciated by Saints fans and Who Dats from all over the world.