Ted Ginn Jr. back to chasing passes from Cam Newton instead of chasing checks

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. has gone from “chasing the check’’ to once again chasing down deep passes from quarterback Cam Newton.

Ginn admits he went after the big pay day following his 2013 season with the Panthers.

Not that Carolina could afford to keep their speed receiver, as badly as it wanted to. The organization simply didn’t have enough room under the salary cap to compete with a three-year, $9.75 million deal from Arizona.

“You only have a short window in this league, so you just gotta go and do what's good for your family,’’ said Ginn, who was married this offseason.

The Cardinals released Ginn after the season to save $2.5 million under the 2015 cap. It didn’t take long for the Panthers, in a better place financially, to call with a two-year, $4.2 million deal.

Now Ginn is again chasing passes from Newton. He’s been impressive enough in camp that one could argue he’s moved ahead of Corey Brown on the depth chart as the speed receiver.

Ginn admits Arizona “wasn’t a good situation for me,’’ but he doesn’t regret chasing the check. “No, not at all,’’ Ginn said. “The best thing about the whole situation is coming back somewhere where somebody likes you.’’

The Panthers like Ginn a lot, not just because of what he offers as a receiver but what he offers as a punt returner. His 12.2 yards per return average in 2013 was a team single-season record.

When Arizona lost a first-round playoff game to Carolina last season, linebacker Thomas Davis told Ginn to “leave your stuff in the visitor’s locker room.’’

“That showed me that everyone still had confidence in me,’’ Ginn said.

Ginn entertained thoughts of playing for his hometown Cleveland Browns after being released in February, but “at the end of the day, I'm in the best place for me. I'm here with Cam Newton and a gunslinger like he is.’’

Ginn showed off his speed on Saturday when he beat cornerback Chris Houston deep on a long touchdown pass from Newton.

But it wasn’t so much Ginn’s speed that stood out on that play as it was his ability to hurdle -- in stride -- a four-foot fence surrounding the field. Ginn said it reminded him of his days in high school when he was the No. 1-ranked hurdler in the country.

“Luckily, Chris missed a kid’s face by half a centimeter,’’ Ginn said. “And I missed running up on a kid playing in the back area, like a toddler . . . by a step. So, I know his mom is happy.’’

Nobody at Carolina’s camp is happier than Ginn. After catching 36 passes for 556 yards and five touchdowns for the Panthers two years ago, he caught only 14 passes for 190 yards and no touchdowns with Arizona.

Prior to coming to Carolina, Ginn caught only 33 passes in three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He caught only two in 2012.

He calls Carolina the perfect fit for him because the coaches and players understand what he offers and maximize his abilities.

Other teams didn’t.

“They believe,’’ Ginn said of Carolina. “If you make a mistake, they’re not hounding on you; they’re not beating you up. It’s a mistake. As long as you get it corrected, you can keep on being who you are.’’

Even if you leave for a year to chase the checks.