Dear Ted Ginn Jr.,
Happy Holidays! You should have an enormous smile on your face practically every moment of your life this season of cheer because you are young, you are rich, you are gifted, and you are truly, truly blessed to play a game for a living.
The game, it has probably occurred to you, is violent. Pain is part of the game. Contact is part of the game.
So why do you sometimes seem so averse to that contact?
On several occasions this season you have been seen getting down, prematurely it could be argued, before a group of tacklers bring you down in the open field. On several occasions this season you have been seen seeking the nearest sideline to end a play before you are touched. On one forgettable occasion you passed up the chance to gain a first down in an important game and simply got out of bounds for no apparent reason other than to avoid getting hit.
Last Sunday you decided to let a catchable pass whiz past rather than try to catch it and expose yourself to a hit.
There is sometimes nothing wrong with getting out of bounds. The two-minute drill is a wonderful time to employ that strategy. There is sometimes nothing wrong with saving the body from an ornery safety who wishes to implant a helmet in your spleen.
But every time is not the right time.
Yards are valuable in football. You play on offense to gain yardage. Getting out of bounds or simply getting down before you've maximized your yardage isn't always good. It is, in fact, considered bad. And it comes with the added disadvantage of looking downright untidy. It makes you seem unwilling to give all of yourself. It makes you seem, well, afraid.
And it doesn't maximize your contribution on a given play.
Please don't take this the wrong way. No one is questioning your desire or manhood. You have made significant and impressive strides in Year Two of your career. You are blessed with more speed than some cars on Miami's streets. You have reliable hands. And your route-running is becoming more refined.
So you've come a long way.
But it is now December and your team is in a playoff race. So consider your approach. As one of the guys responsible for helping your team score, for helping your team advance the football, take this letter as a polite suggestion to advance the ball as much as you can even if it means taking a hit now and then. It might hurt a bit at times but it might also lead to great things. Who knows, what if you break a tackle and score?
It's possible because we must agree this Dolphins season has already proven that anything can happen.
All the best,