SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Undrafted rookie wide receiver Damiere Byrd ran the 40-yard dash in 4.28 seconds on grass during his pro day at the University of South Carolina. Second-year receiver Corey Brown insisted he posted a 4.3 40 before the 2014 draft even though his time at the NFL Combine wasn’t close to that.
“Oh yes," Ginn said.
Teammates will concur that, even at 30 years old, Ginn is among the fastest – if not the fastest -- on the team.
The Panthers don’t record 40 times and they don’t encourage the fastest players to line up and race. But it seems every year in training camp that there’s a debate over who’s the fastest.
Ginn got a lot of votes in an informal survey. He didn’t get one from running back Jordan Todman, who voted on himself.
“I’m a true competitor, so I’m going to say myself until shown otherwise," said Todman, also the team’s top kickoff returner at the moment. “If you beat me, you get that. But if you haven’t beaten me, it’s tough for me to say you’re faster than me."
But what about Ginn?
“He’s a true competitor as well," Todman said. “Until you line up side by side and beat [me], that’s the only way to prove it."
Ginn’s speed has stood the test of time. A track star at Ohio State, he reportedly was timed at 4.28 seconds in the 40 while in college. He has claimed to go as low as 4.22 seconds.
Ginn’s speed actually got a “wow!" from Ron Rivera in 2013 when the Carolina coach saw him on the field for the first time.
Ginn doesn’t know what his 40 time would be today. But there’s no question in his mind that he’s the fastest member of this team.
He’s looked the fastest, too, catching more deep passes than any receiver in camp.
The Panthers lacked that true speed at receiver and in the return game when camp opened last year. Brown eventually emerged as a receiver, and that opened up the rest of the offense.
Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen said having Ginn and Brown to stretch the field this year will only benefit him.
“Ted, he can really fly," Olsen said. “I’m telling you, he’s a different cat. He’s got elite speed in this league. You talk about guys that can take the top off coverages, do all the layered stuff where you have a deep layer and most of the time it’s me coming underneath, it’s a huge advantage for me.
“Guys like him are special athletes. ... You wouldn’t think he was 30."
Ginn appreciates such praise. He takes speed seriously, particularly when his is questioned.
“No disrespect," Ginn said. “But I get a little edgy when people talk about fast."