In a move that came almost out of nowhere, but is also incredibly welcome, the San Francisco 49ers announced just a bit ago that they have re-signed wide receiver and kick/punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. to a one year contract. Ginn had spent the first week and a half of free agency visiting other teams in hopes of developing more of a receiver role. It remains to be seen what he heard from those teams, but he is back.
I could not be happier about this decision as Ginn was an absolute monster when it came to returning kicks and punts. While his receiving skills could improve, there is no doubting he is one of the best return men in the NFL. We saw in the NFC championship game, the problems of not having an ideal return man. Even if Ted Ginn does not catch a single ball as a receiver, this is a good deal.
As for the receiving side of things, I do think there is a role for Ginn. He has shown great skills once the ball is in his hands. I know the team cannot run reverses left, right and center, but there are ways to get the ball in his hands on screens and the like. I'm intrigued to see what he can do with that kind of role.
Press release after the jump...
"We are glad that Ted has decided to return to the 49ers in 2012," said 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke. "He is a versatile player and an excellent teammate that will continue to play an important role for us on both offense and special teams."
Ginn (5-11, 180) etched his name into 49ers record books in 2011, as he became the first player in franchise history to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same game (vs. Seattle - 9/11/11). He finished the year ranked second in the NFC, and third in the NFL, with a 27.6-yard kickoff return average, while also ranking third in the NFC and fourth in the NFL, averaging 12.3 yards per punt return. Ginn played in 14 games (three starts) and had 29 kickoff returns for 800 yards (27.6 average) and one touchdown, and 38 punt returns for 466 yards (12.3 average) and one touchdown, while adding 19 receptions for 220 yards.
In two seasons with the 49ers, Ginn has played in 27 games (three starts), notching 76 kickoff returns for 1,792 yards (23.6 average) and one touchdown, and 62 punt returns for 787 yards (12.7 average) and two touchdowns. Ginn's 12.7-yard punt return average over the last two seasons ranks fourth in the NFL during that span.
Ginn originally entered the league as a first round draft choice (ninth overall) by the Miami Dolphins in the 2007 NFL Draft. After spending three seasons with the Dolphins, he was traded to San Francisco on 4/16/10. Ginn has played in 75 career games (38 starts) and has recorded 222 kickoff returns for 5,166 yards (23.3 average) and three touchdowns, 98 punt returns for 1,099 yards (11.2 average) and three touchdowns, while adding 159 receptions for 2,047 yards and six touchdowns. Since 2007, Ginn's 11.2-yard punt return average ranks sixth in the NFL.
The 27-year old native of Cleveland, OH, Ginn was three-year letterman at Ohio State (2004-06). He played in 37 games (31 starts) and amassed 135 receptions for 1,943 yards and 15 touchdowns, while also rushing for 213 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries. Ginn also returned 64 punts for a 14.1-yard average and six touchdowns and 38 kickoffs for a 26.6-yard average and two touchdowns.