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New Saints WR Ted Ginn Jr.: Drew Brees can extend your career

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Ginn right to want to play with Brees over Cam? (1:54)

Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith understand why Tedd Ginn chose to play with Drew Brees instead of staying with Cam Newton in Carolina. (1:54)

METAIRIE, La. -- Ted Ginn Jr. just had the best two seasons of his career with the Carolina Panthers after turning 30 years old.

So how does a veteran receiver like Ginn try to keep it going?

Find an age-defying quarterback to work with.

"That's why it was very important to find a home like I found, because Drew Brees is the type of guy that can extend your career, man, and that's what it's all about," said Ginn, who signed a three-year, $11 million contract with the New Orleans Saints on the opening day of free agency.

Ginn knows the Saints well after spending three of the past four seasons with the rival Panthers. And vice versa.

"I just think that it was the opportunities that were given to me in Carolina for me to be able to showcase who I am, so now that I'm coming to a new beginning, I feel that (the Saints have) watched me as long as I've watched myself," said Ginn, a former first-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins, who has also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. "They have a pretty good sight of how they want to use me, and just over the years they've learned how to use different receivers to bring out their talent.

"I pretty much knew what type of organization they was, without even being in their building. And I already knew that I was gonna be able to come down and be a factor for ‘em. And that's all I want to be, is be a factor. I don't have to be the superstar. I don't have to be the guy that catches every pass on every down."

It's not hard to figure out the Saints' vision for Ginn, who fills two glaring needs as a vertical deep threat and a punt return specialist.

The Saints signed Ginn, knowing they were about to trade away dynamic speedster Brandin Cooks to New England.

No, Ginn hasn't been the same caliber player as Cooks, who had more than 1,100 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons with a combined 17 touchdowns. But he will definitely help fill the void left by Cooks, opening things up underneath for receivers like Michael Thomas and Willie Snead.

Ginn had catches of 55, 45 and 40 yards against the Saints alone over the past two years. Overall, he had 1,491 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 and 2016.

"I didn't really care about (Cooks' status)," Ginn said. "If they would've kept Brandin Cooks, hey man, you've got two great guys that can go out and get you the ball. Hey, we could've been a great tandem. I don't get caught up in that type of deal. I want to play with great players all the time."

Ginn is also excited to join fellow Ohio State product Thomas, who has now emerged as the Saints' No. 1 receiver after a breakout rookie year. Or as Ginn put it, "now I will be able to come into his kingdom."

Ginn has learned to embrace the fact that he fills a certain role for a team -- and that he can make a big impact in small doses in that role. His career got off to a disappointing start in Miami, and he has battled dropped passes throughout his career.

But here he is, now still going strong 10 years later.

"It just came a point where you just roll with the punches. Hey, if I can't get in (the game), I can't stress about it. So when I do get in, I just got to do what I do. I gotta make plays," said Ginn, who credited a New Orleans native -- longtime NFL assistant coach Terry Robiskie -- for giving him the right perspective as a rookie. "He told me when I first came out: ‘It ain't about every ball that you catch, it's about the ones you're supposed to catch when you're supposed to catch ‘em.' And that's what I kind of started mocking my game after. Do you want 20 balls for 100 yards, or do you want three balls for 100 yards?

"That's what I kind of boiled myself down to. That's what I try to teach the next guy. Make that one ball be the best ball. As my career went on, I started seeing that, and I started realizing it. I mean, I had games where I'd go with zero catches until the fourth quarter and catch two balls that would be just important as me running down the field and catching the fly ball I was supposed to catch earlier in the day. So you just start competing with the game."