Calvin Ridley will be away from the Falcons for at least one more week.
The Falcons wide receiver has only played in five games in 2021, and last played in a game vs. the Dolphins in Week 7. Ridley missed some time earlier in the season due to personal issues.
The budding Falcons star, though, was again labeled inactive prior to Atlanta’s Week 8 game vs. the Panthers, the second such designation of his in the 2021 season. Since then, Ridley has not seen the field.
What happened to Calvin Ridley?
Before the Falcons’ Week 8 matchup vs. the Panthers, Ridley said that he would be stepping away from the team and the NFL for the time being to focus on his mental health and well-being. The decision had the backing of the Falcons.
Ridley explained his decision to step away from the game in a statement posted on his Twitter and Instagram accounts on Oct. 31:
These past few weeks have been very challenging and as much as I’d like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing. 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 great fans, my friends, and my family for all of their support during this time.
While it’s unclear what exactly Ridley is going through, in a recent interview with Rich Eisen, head coach Arthur Smith wouldn’t divulge his struggles.
“Like everybody, I don’t disclose people’s injuries. Players can speak, Calvin put out a statement. I’ll let Calvin speak for Calvin, just like I would for anyone on this team. If they want to talk about a knee injury, that’s their prerogative to talk about. It’s not going to come from me,” Smith said.
Smith also said that the team is currently taking a week-to-week approach when it comes to Ridley, so he may be back on the field before the end of the 2021 season.
Several NFL players, including teammate Hayden Hurst, Saints’ Michael Thomas and Raiders’ Maxx Crosby, have offered support of Ridley during his time of trouble:
.@haydenrhurst on Calvin Ridley “I spoke to him before he left the facility and the best thing I could do is tell him I’m just a phone call away at all times. He’s my locker buddy and he knows I’m there for him for whatever he needs.” #dirtybirds
— DukesandBell929 (@DukesandBell929) November 11, 2021
Ridley is in his fourth season out of Alabama, and emerged as Matt Ryan’s favorite target in 2020, gaining 1,374 yards on 90 catches over 15 games, scoring nine touchdowns in the process.