Several NFL players have been suspended for violating the gambling policy this year and the Jacksonville Jaguars are taking the issue seriously. However, they don't think there's a benefit to using wide receiver Calvin Ridley as a cautionary tale.
Head coach Doug Pederson told the local media before the team's first mandatory workout of the year that the organization is taking the necessary steps to ensure players are informed about the gambling policy but added that there's no benefit in using Ridley as an example.
"What Calvin's gone through is a testimony to the rest of our football team and hopefully the rest of the league", Pederson said. "But I don't really want to put Calvin in a spotlight situation. I don't want to bring all this attention on him. But at the same time, I have mentioned to the team that if they're going through anything or they're tempted in any way, reach out to Calvin. He'd be a great resource to talk to".
"Calvin has been open to that. Whether or not he's had conversations, I can't speak to that. We're in a day and age where gambling is everywhere, and with all the websites that are out there, different things, apps, and all that kind of stuff. We have to be careful, and part of my message to the team this offseason because we're going to take five weeks off and I just want to make sure they're doing the right things and taking care of themselves and not putting their careers and futures in jeopardy", Pederson said.
Ridley stepped away from football in 2021 to focus on his mental health. However, he was still subject to the league's gambling policy and he got an indefinite suspension for betting on NFL games. The suspension lasted for more than a year but it was lifted this past March.
Gambling is low-key becoming a serious issue in the NFL. Just recently, the league investigated Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers for placing more than 100 bets. Before that, several Detroit Lions players, including wide receiver Jameson Williams were suspended for violating the gambling policy. Here's Pederson's discussing the gambling policy and Ridley, via Demetrius Harvey of The Florida Union-Times.
The Jags are right not to bring unnecessary attention to Calvin Ridley for betting
It's important to note that Ridley has held himself accountable for his mistakes and it seems like the suspension is behind him and he's been nothing short of amazing during the team's offseason workouts. In fact, head coach Doug Pederson has stated several times that Jacksonville has needed to pump the breaks on the star receiver.
Regarding the league's gambling policy, it's good to see that the Jaguars aren't using Ridley's as a cautionary tale. Even though he's open to talking about his suspension and there could be some benefit in sharing his experience, it's the team's obligation and not Ridley's to talk about the policy and the risk of potential infractions.
The Jacksonville Jaguars seem to be a great landing spot for Ridley after spending the first three NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. And if he can play the way he did early in his career, the Jags will have one of the best offenses in the NFL next season.