Ted Ginn Jr. has always been known for his blazing speed and skills as a return specialist in high school, college and the NFL.
After three unsuccessful seasons trying to become a receiver for the Miami Dolphins, Ginn couldn't run fast enough to get out of South Florida after being traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
Although Ginn hasn't flourished as a receiver for the 49ers, he's still one of the most dangerous return players in the NFL. Through six games this season the Cleveland Glenville and Ohio State product is averaging 31.8 yards on kick returns and 13.7 yards on punt returns. He's returned both a punt and a kick for touchdowns.
"I'm going out and taking my opportunity," said Ginn, who'll face the Browns on Sunday at Candlestick Park. "There are a lot of new faces around here. I'm a new face to the coaches, and they're new faces to me. As we put this thing together, we'll have opportunities. We need to take advantage of it."
Ginn's stay in Miami got off to a rocky start dating back to draft day in 2007. The Dolphins were in need of a quarterback, and it appeared they would land one with the ninth overall pick. As Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn began to slide through the first round, Dolphins' fans were sure he would be the choice.
When Ginn's named was called with the selection, it's an understatement to say it wasn't well received. When the Browns selected Quinn with the 22nd overall pick, it was thought they had a steal and the Dolphins had egg on their face.
As things turned out, neither player was the right choice. Ginn showed some promise at receiver (56 receptions for 790 yards and two touchdowns in 2008), but he was never considered anything more than just a fast player who could contribute on special teams. Quinn failed in his chances to claim the starting job with the Browns and is now a forgotten backup in Denver.
Ginn welcomed the trade that sent him to the 49ers in exchange for a fifth-round draft choice.
"It was needed," Ginn said. "It's a great opportunity, and you can see that it's happening for me a little bit. I have to stay with it. They've given me an opportunity to learn a little bit more in this game."
Ginn admits he dealt with plenty of pressure in Miami. The pressure was turned up because he wasn't a popular pick. If he didn't prove to be worthy of the choice, the fans and media would certainly let him know about it.
"It's the situation you're in and the team that you go to," Ginn said. "It's how you get embraced. I was in a situation where we needed to win now. It wasn't the time where you can go and teach. If you're given a chance to sit down and learn, you can do something in this league."
Ginn starts opposite Michael Crabtree with the 49ers, but he hasn't had much success. While Crabtree has 20 receptions, Ginn has caught just six for 62 yards. Quarterback Alex Smith prefers targeting tight ends Vernon Davis (24 receptions and three touchdowns) and Delanie Walker (11 receptions and three touchdowns).
"I've always looked at myself as a receiver," Ginn said. "It just hasn't happened for me yet, but in the same sense it has. I just go out and do what I can at the receiver spot and take care of my business on special teams. Slowly but surely I can get back to what someone drafted me at."