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Last season, Ted Ginn caught two passes for one yard. Through eight games this year, he has 21 receptions for 367 yards and two scores. (USATSI)
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SANTA CLARA -- Ted Ginn is closer to home in his first season with the Carolina Panthers, and he’s closer to the role he wanted to play the three previous seasons with the 49ers.
Ginn was a return specialist with the 49ers who did not consider himself a specialist. He signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Panthers in the offseason and he has gotten a greater opportunity to do more than just return punts and kickoffs.
“My goal was to go out and whoever I was with, give them an opportunity to have a piece of Ted Ginn,” Ginn said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “I believe I can play receiver. I’ve played it. I enjoy it. I just wanted to have a better opportunity.”
Ginn will face his former team on Sunday at Candlestick Park. Without Ginn, the 49ers have struggled in the return game. And they were not able to get production from a No. 2 wide receiver in the first half of the season.
Ginn was never a threat at wide receiver for the 49ers. Meanwhile, he has 21 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns in eight games with the Panthers.
In 40 regular-season games over three seasons with the 49ers, he caught just 33 passes for 384 yards and one touchdown. Last season, he caught two passes for one total yard.
Ginn said he is not sure why things did not work out for him as a wide receiver with the 49ers. He played three seasons with the Miami Dolphins before the 49ers acquired him in a trade. His best season in Miami was 2008, when he caught 56 passes for 790 yards.
“I really don’t know,” Ginn said when asked why things did not work out as a receiver while with the 49ers.
“We were on the stride of a Super Bowl at times,” he added. “So I was just being a team player, being a role guy. I was just filling my role. That’s all I can really say. I don’t know why or what or what was said or whatever. I just went out and played football and I did what they asked me to do.”