Falcons: Calvin Ridley impresses in Jaguars debut

NFL: JUL 27 Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp

Calvin Ridley played in his first game since late October of 2021 after stepping away from the Falcons for mental health reasons and then serving a suspension for the entire 2022 campaign for gambling on NFL games.

Eventually, the Jaguars traded for him. Ridley was then reinstated in March and began the road back to the gridiron. In his Jacksonville debut, he reminded everyone just how dangerous he is with a quarterback who can get him the ball.

In his first game in nearly 23 months, Ridley logged eight catches for 101 yards and a score, 92 of which came in the first half. You couldn’t have written a better story, but Ridley isn’t impressed with his stat line as much as he is with the victory.

“[Stats] didn’t mean that much, honestly,” Ridley said after the game. “I just love this team, man. I’ve worked so hard with them. I just want to win with them. I just want to get the W’s.”

Aside from just being a decent human being, Falcons fans should be rooting for Calvin Ridley to succeed in Jacksonville. Most importantly, it’s great to see him healthy and thriving on a football field again. Moreover, if the Jaguars and Ridley agree to a contract extension, the Falcons receive better draft compensation in the trade.

I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that happens. WR1’s don’t grow on trees, and the Jags acquired him for a mid-round draft pick and a second-rounder. In hindsight, the Falcons got fleeced, but during the time of the deal, it wasn’t known when Ridley would be reinstated and if he’d be the same player he was in 2020.

The gamble has paid off for Jacksonville as Trevor Lawrence builds rapport with his new star wideout. Obviously, I’d love to have Ridley in Atlanta, but him succeeding on the field again is more important.

Photographer: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

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