There has been much speculation over Calvin Ridley’s future regarding the Atlanta Falcons and 2022. Tom Pelissero ended that speculation with a tweet on Monday afternoon.
“The NFL is suspending Falcons WR Calvin Ridley indefinitely,” wrote Pelissero on Twitter, “for at least the 2022 season for gambling on NFL games after he left the team last season.”
The Falcons issued a statement with regards to Ridley shortly after the news broke:
“We were first made aware of the league’s investigation on Feb. 9,” wrote the Atlanta Falcons on their official site. “We have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions. We are moving forward in the 2022 season with the decision that was made. With the decision that was made by the NFL, any further questions on the investigation should be directed to the league office.”
Ridley had also received the following words from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell notifying him of his suspension.
“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success – and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league – than upholding the integrity of the game,” wrote Goodell. “This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.
“For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.”
Ridley left the Falcons for the second and final time on Halloween after having played only five games. Ridley claimed he wanted to work on his mental health… a claim that calls into question if he was getting the help he allegedly needed while away from the team.
The Falcons originally had exercised Ridley’s fifth-year option on his contract that was set to pay him roughly $11 million in 2022, but obviously that has been put on hold.
We’ve speculated on AllFalcons that Ridley had played his last down for the Falcons, but it’s possible he’s played his last down in the NFL.
Ridley is set to turn 28 during the 2022 season and wouldn’t be eligible to return until 2023 at the earliest according to Pelissero. How much would teams be willing to gamble on a 29-year old receiver in 2023 who hasn’t played meaningful football in two years after being away from the game for non-injury related reasons.
Any chance the Falcons had at moving Ridley this offseason for a draft pick and cap relief just flew out the window. The Falcons will welcome the opportunity to pour $11 million of Ridley’s would-be salary back into a team that has a load of holes, but an extra premium draft pick or two would have been nice.
Ridley was originally a first-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2018. He had a breakout season in 2020 as Julio Jones struggled with injury, but he wasn’t able to take the reins as the Falcons’ No. 1 wide receiver after Jones left.
Now we wonder if and when we’ll see Ridley in the NFL again.