Ginn back where he belongs

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – "It's like he never left."

Head coach Ron Rivera said it best when asked about wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. He's the vertical threat that brings so much big-play potential to this offense.

General manager Dave Gettleman couldn't help but smile when Ginn ran down a 70-yard heave from quarterback Cam Newton for a touchdown in a recent practice.

Everyone in the organization is happy to see Ginn back in Panthers colors. No one is happier than Ginn himself.

"It's a perfect fit for me," Ginn said. "(Coming back) was the best thing for me."

In 2013, Ginn came to Carolina on a one-year contract as a free agent and revived his career. He posted 36 catches for 556 yards and a career high five touchdowns.

That success led to interest from other teams, and he signed a lucrative deal with the Arizona Cardinals. But 2014 was his one and only season in Arizona. It wasn't what he hoped or expected. He said it was the toughest year of his career.

Speedy rookie John Brown leapfrogged Ginn on the depth chart, and Ginn became a non-factor in the offense. Fresh off his breakthrough 2013 season with the Panthers, Ginn finished the year with just 14 catches for 190 yards.

"You only have a short window in this league and you have to do what's best for your family," Ginn said, adding that for that reason he didn't regret signing with the Cardinals. "But going out to Arizona, it just shut me back down.

"To come back here and get like another life is great."

Ginn came back to Carolina on a two-year deal because of the fit. He has built trust with his quarterback, Cam Newton, and his position coach, Ricky Proehl. All in all, he feels appreciated.

And Ginn is very confident in his own ability, especially his trademark speed, which will be utilized on punt and kick returns.

Is he faster than rookie wide receiver Damiere Byrd? Is he the fastest player on the roster? Ginn couldn't have responded "yes" to both questions any faster than he did.

"No disrespect," Ginn said, "but I kind of get a little edgy when we talk about fast."

The Panthers couldn't be happier to welcome that edge back into their offense.

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