CLEVELAND — One of Cleveland's finest athletes is calling it a career.
Glenville High School grad Ted Ginn Jr. officially announced his retirement Friday after 14 seasons in the NFL. The 36-year-old spoke with reporters at COhatch Ohio City, and while he said the decision was "very tough," he is happy to go out "on my terms."
"It was a hard decision, but it was a decision that had to be made," Ginn said. "I'm respectfully leaving the game the right way, the way I wanted to."
Ginn was an All-American under his father Ted Sr. at Glenville, playing defensive back, quarterback, and wide receiver. He was also a national track champion in the 110m hurdles and some felt he could've made the Olympics, but he eventually decided to focus on football.
Ginn credited both of his parents for his success, and noted how particularly special it was to play for his dad.
"It's one of the biggest things I will always love and cherish," he said. "Sometimes you need your old man, and he's always been there."
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Jim Tressel got Ginn to come to Ohio State as one of the top recruits in the country in 2004, and over the next three years he was one of the most electrifying players in the game, catching 15 touchdown passes and scoring eight more on kick and punt returns. Two of his teammates during that stretch were former Glenville classmates Troy Smith and Donte Whitner, something that would've been unheard of before Ginn's father changed the football culture at the school.
"We shocked the world," junior gushed.
Ginn was a three-time All-American as a returner and helped the Buckeyes win two Big Ten titles and achieve an unbeaten regular season in 2006, the same year Smith won the school's seventh Heisman Trophy. Ginn returned the opening kickoff of that year's national championship game for a touchdown but later sprained his ankle in the ensuing celebration, sapping the energy from his team and setting the table for a shocking 41-14 loss to Florida.
Ginn was drafted ninth overall in 2007 by the Miami Dolphins, and over 14 seasons with six different teams has tallied 15,749 all-purpose yards (24th-most in NFL history) and 42 total touchdowns. He caught a career-high 10 scores in 2015 to help the Carolina Panthers reach the Super Bowl, and this past season played for the Chicago Bears.
Ted Ginn Sr. was also at today's press conference, and told those assembled he was just as impressed with his son's development as a man as his success as a football player.
"This is the end result, being the example to some child," senior said. "That's what I'm proud of."
Junior concurred, and forever remains grateful to the game he loves.
"It made me a man," he said.