Ted Ginn Jr. starts fast in Carolina

Carolina is giving new addition Ted Ginn Jr. an opportunity to win the No. 3 receiver job. AP Photo/Bob Leverone

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- As Ted Ginn Jr. went through the free agency process last winter, the Carolina Panthers stood apart from the rest of his suitors.

"A lot of guys see me as a punt returner or a specialist," Ginn said. “But, here, they were like, “'Just come in and show us what you’ve got.'"

Ginn is a return specialist and a very good one. But he wants to be more in Carolina. He wants to be a productive wide receiver.

That’s something Ginn really wasn’t the last three seasons for the San Francisco 49ers. Last season, he caught only two passes for a yard on a team that went to the Super Bowl.

“When you’re fighting for a Super Bowl, you have to give up different things," Ginn said. “You have to become a team player. That’s what I did last year, I became a team player."

The Panthers very well may use Ginn as a return man. But they’re giving him a chance to compete for the No. 3 wide receiver spot. Early in training camp, Ginn has appeared to be making the most of the opportunity.

Several times Saturday and Sunday, he used his rare speed to get open and catch long passes from quarterback Cam Newton. That has brought back memories of why the Miami Dolphins used a first-round draft pick on Ginn in 2007.

In Miami, Ginn got more opportunities as a receiver than he did in San Francisco, but never quite lived up to his draft status. The Panthers aren’t expecting Ginn to be a dominant wide receiver. They’d be pleased if can emerge as the third receiver behind Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell and give them a deep threat.

So far, he’s been showing signs he might be able to fill that role.

“I’m just showing what I have and trying to help my receiver camp and my quarterback," Ginn said.