The Falcons will square off with an old friend on Sunday morning in London — Calvin Ridley.
Ironically, the last time Atlanta traveled across the pond, Ridley didn’t make the trip to deal with a personal matter. A short time later, he would step away from the team entirely to deal with his mental well being.
While away, Ridley placed several wagers on NFL games, resulting in him being suspended for the entire 2022 season. The Falcons wound up sending him to the Jaguars after enabling him to pick a few trade destinations.
Jacksonville acquired Ridley for a a 2023 fifth-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick. That 2024 selection becomes a third-round pick if Ridley reaches certain thresholds or a second-round pick if the Jaguars sign him to an extension.
Now, he’ll face the Falcons for the first time since the club drafted him in the frist round of the 2018 draft. Facing your former team in any sport is emotional, and some try to downplay the moment, but Ridley isn’t.
“No it ain’t [just another game],” Ridley said, via Demetrius Harvey of Jacksonville.com. “But, just trying to make it seem normal. I got friends over there, man. It’s still the first team I played for and I know a couple of guys over there.”
There is no bad blood between the two sides, though. The Falcons and Calvin Ridley parted on good terms, so don’t let anyone twist this into a revenge game for either side.
“I don’t think they gave up on me,” said Ridley. “I think they helped me. We all sat down and had a decision and we all made a choice.”
He had about as good of a debut as any in recent memory, hauling in nine passes for over 100 yards and a score. Though his production has declined over the last couple of weeks, inclduing a pair of untimely drops, Calvin Ridley is all the way back to being a star reciever in this league.
It’s great to see, and I wish him continued success… except against the Falcons.
Photographer: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire