Ted Ginn Jr. on playing wide receiver for Bears at 35: ‘I can still run. … Don’t let the age and the years fool you.’

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CHICAGO — Ted Ginn Jr. has not yet reached the biking prowess of his former Saints teammate Teddy Bridgewater, who posted the details of a five-hour, 74-mile bike ride on Twitter over the weekend.

But Ginn, who turned 35 last month, still puts up big numbers in that department. The new Bears wide receiver said he has been biking 20 to 30 miles every couple of days as he tries to stay in shape for his 14th NFL season.

“I bike a lot, just try to create the base stamina that I was always taught,” Ginn said Wednesday on a video conference call. “You go out and create a base, and you can be able to run all day. … I can’t do the Teddy Bridgewater yet, but I’m trying to get there.”

If Ginn proves he still can “run all day,” that should help the Bears capitalize on their one-year investment. They signed him last week to bring speed and experience to a receiving corps in need of both.

The experience is undeniable.

Ginn, the ninth pick by the Dolphins in the 2007 draft, has 409 career receptions for 5,702 yards and 33 touchdowns. He has played in 187 games for five teams, including 36 over the last three seasons with the Saints.

He had 30 catches for 421 yards and two touchdowns in 2019, including two catches for 48 yards against the Bears. He has extensive experience as a kickoff and punt returner. And he has played in 15 playoff games, including two Super Bowls with the 49ers and Panthers.

Ginn thinks he can use that experience to help a crop of young Bears wide receivers — including Anthony Miller, Javon Wims, Riley Ridley and Darnell Mooney — be better on and off the field.

The speed, Ginn said, is also still there.

“I can still run,” Ginn said. “That’s my attribute. I can run, I can catch, I can jump. … Don’t let the age and the years fool you.”

At one point in his career, Ginn said, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds.

Asked how he has maintained that speed over the years, he referenced his father, Ted Ginn Sr., who is in the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame as the longtime football and track and field coach at Glenville High School. Ginn said he and his father treated his career like “a machine” and figured out the many different people they needed to train him to keep it running.

Beyond that, Ginn said he has been fortunate not to experience many major injuries that cause lingering aches, though he was limited to five games in 2018 by a knee injury.

“I don’t really have a lot of major areas where … you start feeling it here and there,” he said.

The Bears, who played for half of 2019 without the injured Taylor Gabriel, ranked last in the NFL with only two pass plays of 40-plus yards and were 29th with 39 pass plays of 20-plus yards.

After they cut Gabriel in February, the Bears needed players to help improve those stats. They’ll look this year to Mooney, a fifth-round draft pick from Tulane, and Ginn, who at 34 made the weekly list of Next Gen Stats’ fastest ball carriers a couple of times for hitting around 20 mph.

“I bring speed,” Ginn said. “I bring that element of stretching the field, so I know I’ll be helping in that role. And then (it’s) being able to catch things underneath and making my way within that role.”

Ginn said he narrowed his free-agency options to a couple of teams and liked what he heard from Bears coach Matt Nagy, whom he called “down to earth” and “trusting.”

“Me and Nagy had a couple of good conversations throughout this process that made me decide that it was a great fit for me and my family,” Ginn said. “Being at this age and having a want for you is a crazy, amazing feeling to have. … Why would you turn that down?”


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