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Monday, August 27, 2007

Dolphins' Ginn catching on with fans



By EDGAR THOMPSON
August 04, 2007

DAVIE — Rookie receiver Ted Ginn Jr. looks to his right, reaches out for the football, and a few seconds later he scores again.

The Dolphins' first-round pick leaves behind another smiling fan.
Ginn doesn't stop there. He continues to sign anything he's handed after several practices this week at training camp.

"The only thing I can do right now for them is go over and sign autographs," said Ginn, whose selection was criticized by many fans. "Once the season starts, I'll try to do other things."

Ginn, an electrifying receiver and return man at Ohio State, arrived at camp last week with plenty of fanfare - he signed a contract that guarantees him $14 million - but without the swagger of many first-rounders.

Coaches and teammates took notice.

"I bet you 85 percent, 90 percent of the first-round draft choices I've had have come in with the new cars and the spinning wheels," receivers coach Terry Robiskie said.

Not Ginn, said defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday, a 10-year veteran.

"A lot of times you see those first-round draft picks come in and they're full of themselves already and haven't done anything in the league," Holliday said. "He doesn't seem to be one of those guys. He's humble and respectful of the league and the guys who came before him - and he's dedicated."

Ginn, 22, knows he has a lot to prove. Many of those now clamoring for his signature were cringing when Miami selected him ninth overall instead of taking Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.

The Dolphins' draft party felt less than festive when the crowd roundly booed coach Cam Cameron, who took the stage in the team's practice bubble to try to explain the decision.

Fans knew he was fast, but many felt that Ginn was too small (5-feet-11, 178 pounds) and inexperienced (he didn't play receiver until college). Now he is trying to change that perception.

At the team's first practice last Saturday, Ginn made a one-handed catch of an overthrown pass to draw the biggest cheer of the day.

He has continued to impress, flashing sprinter's speed and sure hands whenever his number is called.

Some days, that hasn't been too often. During Wednesday's practice, only one pass came his way.

"We're not doing anything to get guys the ball - you either get it or you don't at this stage," Cameron said.

Like most rookies, Ginn might not make an instant impact. But now fans seem willing to give him a chance.

"I think it will take him a while, but by the end of the season he'll be contributing a lot," said 15-year-old Danny Garcia of Pembroke Pines, who watched practice while wearing Ginn's No. 19 replica jersey. "I feel he's a lot like Reggie Bush or Devin Hester. Every time he touches the ball he can take it all the way."

Robiskie hopes that happens a lot. But he cautioned that Ginn, like any rookie, has a lot to learn.

"Right now, when he breaks the huddle, he's thinking about where he has to be, what he's supposed to do," Robiskie said. "That's what happens with young guys.

"But he'll get it."

Ginn also is getting over the frosty reception he received 14 weeks ago.

"The draft is over and done with; I'm here," he said. "All I can do is go out and make a little improvement and keep playing football."

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