Wide receiver Calvin Ridley was a rising star in the late 2010s, and a big reason for his early NFL success was that he was catching passes from quarterback Matt Ryan. Although Ridley now plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars, he hasn't forgotten much Ryan helped him during their time together in Atlanta, which is why he made sure to give him a shoutout heading into Week 1.
Ridley met with the local media Thursday and he took advantage of the opportunity to thank Ryan for helping him be a pro during his stint with the Falcons. Here's everything the receiver, now entering his fifth NFL season, said.
"I just want to shoutout Matt Ryan," Ridley said, via Demetrius Harvey of The Florida Times-Union. "The time I had with him and how professional he was. How he taught me and he brought me. It just helps me with my older I right now, my older career. With Trevor, he's very similar to Matt. He's always on it but I'm also on it too.
"For us to get that timing, that chemistry... I feel like we're in a good sport and we're only going to get better but I just want to thank Matt for helping me being a pro."
Ridley a first-round pick by the Falcons in 2018, tallied 217 receptions for 3,061 years in his first three seasons. Although Matt Ryan was entering the twilight years of his NFL career, he was still a productive quarterback, completing 66.9 percent of his passes for 13,971 yards with 87 touchdowns and 32 interceptions from 2018-2020.
The 2021 season was Ryan's last in Atlanta. The following year, he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, where he spent an unremarkable season before putting an end to a fruitful NFL career. On the other hand, Ridley suited up for five games in 2021 before stepping away to work on his mental health. He later revealed that he was also playing with a broken foot.
During Ridley's retirement, he placed wagers on football games and was suspended indefinitely by the NFL season for violations to their gambling policy. He missed the 2022 season but that didn't stop the Jaguars from acquiring the former Alabama standout.
Since he was still serving his suspension at the time of the trade, Ridley couldn't join Jacksonville right off the bat. He applied for reinstatement earlier this year and his request was granted. From Day 1, the Florida native has put in the work to ensure he returns to greatness.
Matt Ryan also has kind words for Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley's respect for Matt Ryan goes but ways. Just recently the former Pro Bowl quarterback said that Ridley was set to bounce back in 2023. Based on all he's done throughout the offseason, training camp, and the preseason, it's hard to bet against him (no pun intended).
Ryan says he looks like himself, noting his explosive and his ability to get in and out of cuts and change of directions is "as good as there is in the league". Having played with Ridley for more than three years, Ryan is in a position to objectively assess his current shape.
Talent recognizes talent. Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley helped each other be better and they want to make sure everybody knows it. Similarly, it's encouraging to see Lawrence be compared to one of the top quarterbacks of the 2010s.
Together, Lawrence and Ridley have the potential to take the league by storm in 2023.