Following a year-long suspension for gambling on NFL games that did not involve the his former team in the Atlanta Falcons, current Jacksonville Jaguars’ wide receiver Calvin Ridley was reinstated Monday by the league.
Ridley previously violated the league’s gambling policy, leading to the automatic one-year suspension while he was a member of the Atlanta Falcons.
The former first-round pick by the Falcons out of Alabama was suspended for at least the 2022 season on March 7 last year after an investigation found that he bet on NFL games over a five-day stretch in November 2021 while he was away from the Atlanta Falcons due to mental health issues.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last March that the league determined that Riley placed parlay bets that included the Falcons to win via his mobile device out of state.
Ridley later admitted in a series of tweets following the announcement of his suspension that his bets totaled $1,500 but said he doesn’t have a gambling problem.
While suspended from the Falcons, the Jaguars traded for Ridley on Nov. 1, 2022, sending the Falcons a 2023 fifth-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2024 that could rise as high as a second-round pick if the Jaguars sign Ridley to an extension. Ridley is set to earn $11.116 million in 2023 on the fifth-year option from the rookie deal he signed with the Falcons after being drafted 26th overall in 2018.
The reinstatement to the league means Ridley can now participate in all team activities for the Jaguars, giving Jacksonville under head coach Doug Pedersen and emerging quarterback Trevor Lawrence a legitimate No. 1 caliber receiver to work with, creating a strong duo with current holdovers Christian Kirk and Jay Jones, not to to mention tight end Evan Engram, who is expected to be franchise tagged by the team.
Now back in the league and able to join his new team, Ridley will prepare for the 2023 season in which he looks to get his promising career back on track.
Ridley, 28, had 248 catches for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns in 49 games with the Falcons, including 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020.
Adding that type of talent to an offense that finished 10th in the NFL in scoring last season (23.8 points per game), 10th in passing yards per game (232.9) and 10th in total offense (357.4) is a major boost, one that the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to deal with 2023 at Acrisure Stadium as the Jaguars are one of nine home opponents for the black and gold this upcoming season.
In one game against the Steelers in his career, Ridley hauled in four passes for 38 yards on five targets in a 41-17 loss to the Steelers at then-Heinz Field on Oct. 7, 2018.