BEREA — Ted Ginn Jr. is known for having track speed, but he’s had a hard time getting out of the blocks this year.
He was drafted No. 9 by the Miami Dolphins but hasn’t started a game at receiver. He has two catches for 51 yards, including a 36-yarder last week on a crossing route. He’s also rushed two times for 4 yards.
The slow transition to receiver was anticipated, but Ginn’s also had a minimal impact returning kicks, his specialty. The former Glenville High School and Ohio State star has averaged 7 yards on nine punt returns and 25.3 on 20 kickoff returns.
“At Ohio State, I really didn’t get started until the sixth week or the seventh week into the season,” Ginn said Wednesday on a conference call. “Now, I’m just back on that same boat. It’s all a process. I just need to keep pushing and keep playing. Good things will happen.”
Ginn will visit Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday with the 0-5 Dolphins.
“I’m very happy. I get to have my family there and my close friends that can’t really make it out here to Miami,” he said. “It gives them a chance to come out and watch me play in a NFL game.”
Miami coach Cam Cameron said he’s pleased with Ginn’s progress.
“He’s grown tremendously as a receiver,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any question as to him being a very good football player. Not just a receiver and not just a returner. He’s going to be very good at both and I look forward to watching him continue to grow.”
Running back Jamal Lewis didn’t practice Wednesday with a foot strain. Crennel said he’s been in a boot to protect the foot.
“Later in the week we’ll know more,” Crennel said. “We know he wants to go and is doing everything he can so that he can go.”
Crennel said he wouldn’t be more cautious with Lewis with a bye week up next. “We need to win the game,” he said.
Jason Wright, who had 102 total yards vs. New England, would replace Lewis.
Linebacker Antwan Peek has been dealing with a foot strain much of the year. He’s worn a boot early in the week but has been able to play on Sundays.
l Receiver Joe Jurevicius was limited in practice with a sore knee. Crennel said the Browns would “manage” the injury and limit his repetitions in hopes of getting him to the game.
l Backup tight end and special teamer Darnell Dinkins had his hand put in a cast. He missed practice and is doubtful for Sunday. Dinkins is so valuable on special teams, the Browns will see if he can contribute despite the cast.
l Safety Brodney Pool (thigh bruise) and Kellen Winslow (shoulder) were limited, but are expected to play.
l Fullback Charles Ali (toe) was limited.
l Miami defensive end Jason Taylor (neck) was limited.
Punter Dave Zastudil declared himself ready to return. His temporary replacement, Scott Player, was released Monday.
“I’m full go,” Zastudil said. “I don’t want people thinking if I hit a bad punt it’s because of my back. I’m back and I’m ready to roll.”
Zastudil hurt his back the week of the opener and wasn’t able to kick. Paul Ernster was signed the day before the game and dropped the first snap of the season. Zastudil punted twice in Week 2 for 86 yards, but aggravated the injury.
Ernster was cut, Player was signed and Zastudil missed the next three games.
“It’s been difficult,” he said. “Sometimes when you don’t play you realize how much you really love the game, how much you really love the team. I’m just really excited to get out there and play. I can’t wait.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick defended linebacker Mike Vrabel, who was called “classless” by Browns guard Eric Steinbach on Monday for bull rushing left tackle Joe Thomas after Derek Anderson had spiked the ball to stop the clock with 11 seconds left in Sunday’s 34-17 loss. Vrabel made contact with Anderson’s heel, causing him to trip and fall.
“The only reason Mike was even in the vicinity of anyone’s legs or knees is because he was pushed down,” Belichick told the Boston Globe. “Then they hit him late. It looked to me that the players were off balance probably because the offense, knowing it was a spike, slowed down and Mike just did what any defensive player should do — play hard to the whistle and take nothing for granted. I wouldn’t tell Mike to do anything differently.”
Anderson and Crennel declined to discuss the play.
Rookie Louis Leonard, signed off waivers from St. Louis on Monday, will be tried at nose tackle. He got some experience at nose tackle in the 3-4 in training camp with San Diego.
l Center LeCharles Bentley (knee) watched practice. He is on the physically unable to perform list and will be eligible to start practicing next week.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.