Calvin Ridley will be away from the Falcons for at least another week.
The Falcons wide receiver played just five games in 2021, and last played against the Dolphins in Week 7. Ridley missed some time earlier in the season due to personal issues.
However, the Falcons’ budding star was once again labeled as inactive ahead of Atlanta’s Week 8 game against the Panthers, his second such designation in the 2021 season. Since then, Ridley was not allowed to play anymore.
What happened to Calvin Ridley?
Ahead of the Falcons’ Week 8 game against the Panthers, Ridley said he’s leaving the team and the NFL at the moment to focus on his mental health and wellness. This decision has the backing of the Falcons.
Ridley explained his decision to abandon the game in a statement posted on his Twitter and Instagram accounts on October 31:
The past few weeks have been very challenging and I want to play with my teammates, I need to get away from football for the moment and focus on my mental health. This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future.
I want to thank my teammates, the entire Atlanta Falcons organization, our amazing fans, and my friends and family for all of their support throughout.
While it’s unclear exactly what Ridley is going through, in a recent interview with Rich Eisen, head coach Arthur Smith would not reveal his struggles.
“Like everyone, I don’t disclose your injuries. The players can talk, Calvin released a statement. I’ll let Calvin speak for Calvin, just like I would tell anyone in the team. this team. If they want to talk about the knee injury, that’s their prerogative to talk about it. It won’t come from me,” Smith said.
Smith also said that the team is currently taking a week-by-week approach when it comes to Ridley, so he will likely be back on the field before the 2021 season ends.
Several NFL players, including teammate Hayden Hurst, Michael Thomas of the Saints and Maxx Crosby of the Raiders, have offered to support Ridley during his troubled times:
.@haydenrhurst on Calvin Ridley “I spoke to him before he left the facility and the best I could do was tell him I just needed one phone call all the time. He’s my classmate and he knows I’m there for whatever he needs.” #dirtybirds
– DukesandBell929 (@ DukesandBell929) November 11, 2021
Ridley is in his fourth season at Alabama, and has become a favorite for Matt Ryan in 2020, hitting 1,374 yards on 90 catches in 15 games, scoring nine touchdowns in the process.