The NFL announced Monday that Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been fully reinstated a year after being suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s gambling policy. Immediately able to participate in all team activities, Wideout took some time to address the past before starting his new chapter.
“I am tired. I am not here to sugarcoat anything. In 2021, I made the biggest mistake of my life by gambling on football,” Ridley wrote in an open letter Players’ Tribune.
Ridley’s suspension was accompanied by considerable scrutiny, jokes from fans, and even a censure statement from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The 28-year-old knows it all and takes accountability, but wants people to know there’s more to the story.
The letter details Ridley’s experience playing the entire 2020 season for the Atlanta Falcons on an injured foot. He says an MRI showed he suffered a bone bruise, which convinced him to continue taking Toradol shots from the team doctor even though he suspected the injury was more serious.
He finished the season with 1300 yards and 9 touchdowns as the Falcons’ 4–12 record led to a complete overhaul. With a new staff including head coach and trainers, Ridley says he was referred to a specialist, who quickly diagnosed him with a broken leg.
From that point, things started to spiral. According to the letter, he had surgery two months before the start of the 2021 season and was feeling the pressure of taking painkillers to complete his workouts. He wrote that he often went home in pain and tried to be there for his family. He pushed himself to play the first week and when he came home, he found that their house had been burgled. A prosecutor later announced that Ridley was among a group of celebrities in Atlanta whose homes were targeted by a local gang.
The letter explained that Ridley’s wife was in shock and could not sleep at night. He also felt “the weight of the world” on his chest, something he didn’t know at the time was anxiety. According to the letter, Ridley was not fully supported by the Falcons, which led him to walk away from the team.
Ridley is in a different place now
Even though he spoke with a therapist during that time, Ridley’s letter mentions that he was isolated and overwhelmed. He survived the effects of a difficult childhood, which saw his father deported to Guyana and his mother imprisoned. He was the oldest brother, trying to comfort his brothers in the foster home. He eventually found football as an outlet, then he found himself without it. After a month away from the team, Ridley decided to take a gamble,
Ridley wrote, “I just screwed up. Period. In a dark moment, I made a stupid mistake. I wasn’t trying to cheat the game.” “I was still very depressed and angry, and the days were so long. I was looking for anything to take my mind off things and make the day go by faster. One day, I saw a TV commercial for a betting app. looked it up, and for whatever reason, I downloaded it on my phone. I put down like $1,500 total, literally something to do. I was going to bet like $200 on some NBA games that night, but then I added a bunch more games to Parle. I put the Falcons on it. I was basically doing it to root on my boys. I didn’t have any inside information. I didn’t even talk to anyone on the team at the time. Wasn’t doing it. I was completely out of whack.”
Now, Ridley is in a completely different place and “excited” about the new opportunity. Posted by Jaguar Multiple Video His time at their facilities on Wednesday.
According to his letter, he is sharp and healthy in training, ready to help his new team reach new heights. “I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt,” he wrote.