The Falcons could have a problem on their hands for the second straight offseason. Last spring, Julio Jones forced his way out of Atlanta, and Calvin Ridley could be next.
Ridley has become the talk of the town around Atlanta. He stepped away from football altogether in the middle of the 2021 season for his wellbeing. For much of the year, fans and the organization were supportive of his mental health; however, the temperature of the situation has changed.
A number of NFL pundits have weighed in — Steve Wyche said that he thinks Ridley’s future with the Falcons is in jeopardy; Mike Garafolo of NFL Network said he believes the Falcons trading Ridley is a very strong possibility; Jeremy Fowler of ESPN stated the “market would be robust” for Ridley.
In his end-of-season press conference, Terry Fontenot avoided answering questions pertaining to Ridley’s future. And Ridley’s camp has been radio silent since he stepped away from football. The only communication we’ve heard from Ridley’s side is the now infamous tweet that he liked, which read: “I really hope the Miami Dolphins get Calvin Ridley.” He quickly unliked it but not before Falcons Twitter drug him through the mud.
The situation has never been cloudier. During a radio interview with 92.9 The Game, Arthur Blank weighed in on the subject but provided no clarity.
“We’re not permitted to speak with him directly but have spoken with his representatives. How he handles his situation & how that plays out remains to be seen. We’re very sensitive to it & would love to see him stay.” Arthur Blank on Calvin Ridley to @putemupcdukes @MikeBellATL
— DukesandBell929 (@DukesandBell929) February 9, 2022
I’ve said this through multiple mediums, but if he is actually battling something, Ridley would never want to return to Atlanta after how the fans have treated him on social media. I don’t believe a player would claim mental health as a way to force a trade. However, Ben Simmons has undoubtedly set a precedent for other players to do it. It is possible.
If a trade does come to fruition, fans will assume Ridley fabricated the entire thing even if he genuinely was struggling mentally. It is an unfortunate situation for all parties involved, but things have never been murkier at this point. The Falcons are in limbo.