Calvin Ridley pens football, NFL, and Falcons fans

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After listening to everyone else talk about his situation for over a year, Calvin Ridley finally got to speak his truth. In a letter to the game, the former Falcons and current Jaguars receiver explained his side of the story.

Ridley was officially reinstated by the NFL on Monday after serving a year-long suspension for gambling on NFL games, including a Falcons-Jaguars game, while he was on the non-football injury list due to his mental health.

Many condemned the man for taking care of his mental well-being because they thought he didn’t want to play for the Falcons and then piled on when he made a dumb decision to gamble. If those people read this piece from Ridley, they’d take back everything.

“I f***ed up. I’m not here to sugarcoat anything. In 2021, I made the worst mistake of my life by gambling on football.”

Ridley went on to explain the dark path he went down, which began in 2020 — the season he posted over 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns. Starting with the injury nobody knew about; Ridley played the entire season on a broken foot. Then, everyone he’d ever known in the NFL was fired — coaches, training staff, etc. Shortly after, his mentor and best friend on the team, Julio Jones, would also depart. Now, everyone was looking to him to be the man in Atlanta. But he was still hurt.

Ridley states he rushed the recovery process to be ready for the 2021 season, forcing it with the help of painkillers. Mind you, the man’s foot is still not right. Ridley decided to gut it out with the new regime, taking anything he could to numb the pain to be on the field. His body was still broken, and he was a shell of himself but still gritted it out.

What sent him over the edge was the robbery of his home. It severely affected his family, particularly his wife. Eventually, Ridley was so mentally drained because of his body, family, and anxiety that he asked to step away from the team. Ridley then stated how he’d talk to a therapist, expanding on his childhood, which was about as brutal as they come in America.

Eventually, Ridley cited depression as a reason for being so blind to bet on an NFL game. “When you’re depressed, you’re not thinking about anything in the future. You’re just trying to get through the day.” He went on to say he believes he’s stronger than ever, mentally and physically.

Calvin Ridley is back. Falcons fans may still feel some type of way, but it’s asinine. There’s no reason to harbor hard feelings toward anyone in this situation. Outside of being decent humans, Falcons fans should be rooting for Calvin Ridley because his production will directly affect the club.

According to, the Falcons stand to receive a fifth-round pick so long as he was reinstated by a certain date, which hasn’t been reported. However, the significant compensation is tied to Ridley’s play in 2023.

The Falcons get a fourth-rounder if he makes the team, which is likely a guarantee. The club receives a third-rounder if Ridley hits certain playing time marks, which is also unknown. And the highest compensation would be a second-rounder if the Jaguaras and Ridley agree to a new deal.

Ridley stated, “On my daughter’s name, if I’m healthy? With Trevor Lawrence? I’m giving Jacksonville 1,400 yards a season, period.” Falcons fans should like the sound of that.

Good luck, Calvin Ridley.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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