Interviews

Published on April 29th, 2019 | by Guest Editor

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New Orleans Saints Receiver, Ted Ginn Jr. Aims To Keep His Father’s Legacy Going With Ginn Elite Pop Warner League!

Ted Ginn Jr. is still one of the elite deep threats in the NFL. Ginn returns to the, New Orleans Saints high-powered offense for his 13th season as a pro.

Ted Ginn Jr. has torched some of the best defensive backs in the NFL over the last 12-years. Since coming out of Ohio State in 2006, he has consistently been one of the fastest receivers in the league. His speed caught the attention of the, Miami Dolphins who used their 9th pick in the 2007 draft to select, Ginn. In 2010 he joined the, San Francisco 49ers where he would spend the next 3-years before going to the Carolina Panthers. After a short stay with the Arizona Cardinals, Ginn rejoined the Panthers where he set some franchise records. In 2017, Ginn joined the New Orleans Saints, who fell one game short of a Super Bowl appearance last year. Ted Ginn’s father, Ted Ginn Sr. is well known for the work he’s done with athletes from Cleveland, Ohio; some who are now teammates of Ginn Jr. like cornerbacks, Marshon Lattimore and Justin Hardee (who is also the Saints special teams ace). Ginn Jr. intends to keep his father’s legacy going with the start-up of his pop warner football league, Ginn Elite. Ted Ginn Jr. attended and graduated from, Glenville High School, in Cleveland, Ohio. The same school, Steve Harvey attended.

I had to pleasure of catching up with, Ginn to discuss his involvement in his community, the no-call against the Rams in last years NFC championship game as well as the importance of Ginn Elite.

The Hype Magazine: Congratulations on a great season that should have ended with a Super Bowl appearance, but that’s another story.

Ted Ginn Jr.: Thank you!

The Hype Magazine: It’s NFL draft time. This time in 2007 you were the 9th pick in the draft by the Miami Dolphins. These drafts change so many young men’s lives. Do you remember what that moment was like for you?

Ted Ginn Jr.: It was a special day. The way that I did it, I made it to where my community and all of the kids and everybody could come out and enjoy that day with me. I wasn’t really big on going to New York, I was big on staying at home and cherishing it with my family and friends.

The Hype Magazine: Keeping up with the community seems to be a trait that you developed from your father who has helped so many young men reach elite levels. You guys have really put Cleveland on your back and you guys do so much for the youth out there. How important is that for you to keep that going?

Ted Ginn Jr.: Well, you know, my dad has been in the community for over 40-years; almost 50, you know what I’m saying. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t come and try to do some of the things in the community that he did. My whole goal is to just try to keep his name alive. He did so much, and he does so much and sometimes he doesn’t get credit for it, but everybody else does. So, just keeping that name alive is very very important because he is an icon.

The Hype Magazine: He may not get the credit on the big scale, but you have some teammates, there are different guys in the league and pro boxer, Mickey Bey always talks about the impact your father had in the city. It has to be a great feeling for things to come full circle and for you to actually be teammates with some of the guys who came from under the Ted Ginn Sr. umbrella.

Ted Ginn Jr.: It’s just a blessing. That you can come and kill two birds with one stone. He gets to see his son and see the rest of his sons. They still sons to him. It’s just a blessing, a man that his work is being shown. I’m just trying to continue to be creative and that’s my deal with the league; the pop warner team. I’m just trying to bring the community back a little bit more than what it’s been. I’m trying to bring them, athletes, out that we know we have. I’m just trying to catch them at a young age to where by the time they get to where my father is at or by the time, they are 12 or 13-years old, they already have a format of what they are going to be doing or trying to do. It’s just all about being blessed.

The Hype Magazine: Cleveland is a lot like New Orleans in a sense of, the youth definitely needs guidance because there isn’t a lot of role models or opportunities. It can feel like a concrete jungle sometimes. I understand you can’t save them all, but the ones you can save, what is it like to see a kid come from a system like yours; Ginn Elite and watch them succeed in life?

Ted Ginn Jr.: It’s all about building a family. When you get these kids and you get them in your program, you’re not only teaching the kids, you’re teaching the mom and the dad or whoever that’s going to be at the forefront to try and make this kid go. It’s not always about the coach and what we are giving them, it’s about what you do at home too. That was some of the key things that made me able to go and a lot of guys around me be able to go, we took it off the field and still continued to do it. That’s the whole deal is to keep up with the families and the kids and hope that they strive to be the best that they can be no matter if it’s on the field or off.

The Hype Magazine: You seemed to fit the New Orleans culture right away and upon doing a little research I understand why; your father was actually born in Louisiana.

Ted Ginn Jr.: Yeah, you know, it was a blessing to get down there and meet some of my family members who I hadn’t seen in a long time. Or just being around cousins that… we were so young the last time we saw each other that we don’t even know each other like that. For us to be grown now and to be in a position to check in with uncles and things that just come with the age. It was a blessing in disguise.

The Hype Magazine: I’m sure you have been fast your entire life, but to be 13-seasons into your career and still be able to stretch the field the way you do, don’t share any secrets but is it about staying loose and stretching a lot? How do you remain one of the biggest deep threats in the league?

Ted Ginn Jr.: Just trying to maintain with the young guys. Going out and doing the little things that make you be who you are. I haven’t really fallen out of shape since I left high school. That’s something my dad put into me way back then. Just knowing what your body can do and what your body cannot do. Learning how to switch up when you need to switch up and just doing the different things that can make you compete at a high level. Right now, I’m just happy I have a guy like, Marshon Lattimore and Justin Hardee, guys that came from my area, that looked up to me, now I can look up to them. They help me keep going because I just want to be around the guys to help them. They haven’t been in this league this long, I’m on the way out, so just teach them how to save the money and how to prepare for different things. Justin has a family now, so teaching him things on the family side. And, one day, Marshon is going to have a family. So, just knowing that, we are all there and the same things apply.

The Hype Magazine: I think your leadership role being the veteran out of the receiving core got overlooked last year. We have a very young group of receivers and your present is felt when you’re out there. In what ways are you spreading your knowledge and experience to, MT, Smith, Kirkwood and the newly acquired, Jared Cook?

Ted Ginn Jr.: Well, you know, everybody got a mindset and as far as the young guys in the room, it’s all about listening. One thing I try and tell the guys is, maintain what you can maintain and do what you can do. That’s the sum of it all. You are going to get in situations where they might say you’re too old, they might say you’re too young by how do they know? Do you know what I’m saying? You just gotta go out there and play the game. I commend the guys for stepping up last year and doing what they had to do and taking our team to the next height. That’s what it is about. As long as you come in a room as one, things are always going to go good for you.

The Hype Magazine: The missed call against the Rams still bothers me and every Saints fan I know to this day. Are you still as salty as we are, or have you found a way to get over it and move on?

Ted Ginn Jr.: Well you know, it is what it is now. You just gotta push forward and do what you gotta do to maintain. I knew a rule was going to come out of this and that’s what we got. But it ain’t a benefit for us, it’s a benefit for the league. It’s just something that you gotta live with for the rest of your life.

The Hype Magazine: As I mentioned before, this is your 13th season. Football seems to be a revolving door for changes and rule changes now. What do you feel was the change over the years that you had to adjust to the most if anything?

Ted Ginn Jr.: As far as the offensive side, ain’t really been no big changes. On the defensive side, it has been as far as the way you tackle and where you can hit guys at now. On the offensive side, it’s pretty much been the same; get in your route, get out your route. You still have the interference calls. The only thing I can say it guys got faster, as far d-lineman and things like that. But, as far as the actual game, it hasn’t changed on offense that much.

The Hype Magazine: You are in a very high-powered offense. Sean Payton appears to do a great job with keeping the offense fresh. You’re playing with one of the all-time greats in, Drew Brees, Mike Thomas is one of the best young receivers in the game, Alvin Kamara is electric, Jared Cook is a big physical guy and the defense seems to be hitting their stride. What are your expectations for yourself and the team this year?

Ted Ginn Jr.: To just go out and play every play like it’s your last. It’s kind of hard to put goals because you can’t control it. You never know what’s going to happen throughout the year. The only thing you can do it go out and play every Sunday like it’s your last Sunday.

The Hype Magazine: I love what you are doing with, Ginn Elite, best of luck with that and before I let you go I wanted to give you the opportunity to let everyone know where they could find out more about your pop warner program.

Ted Ginn Jr.: Right now, I’m in the process of getting my website set up, so we could brand it a little bit more. It was something that just came overnight. The guys that came up through my dad’s program, a lot of their kids are coming up and it’s another avenue for those guys. It started off local and we are looking to make it national, so just give me a couple of months and I will be able to reach out to you and we will have a lot more going on.

By Percy Crawford

 



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