Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley is fully focused and ready to remind everyone he's great
Wide receiver Calvin Ridley pulled no punches and shared many interesting tidbits during his first media availability session as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, including what he was going through during his retirement and eventual suspension back in 2021.
Among the topics Ridley touched on during his conversation with the local media was the reasoning behind writing a letter for the Player's Tribune earlier this year explaining what he was going through in 2021.
"When I did that, I really did that for myself", Ridley said. "And I did that just to let some people know what was going on because when I was on the year suspension, I would come outside sometimes and talk to certain people that I wanted to talk to, friend, and I would just listen, 'Okay, that's what you think, that's what you're thinking".
"For me personally, just to get it out and say, 'alright, I love football and I had a hard time at that point'. I was in my fourth season and I didn't want it to be that hard. I'm a great player who works and who needs all season in order to be great. I'm a great player who works and who needs all season in order to be great. Most of us do and that's what kind of what I was saying. I work hard, I was hurt. I'm not soft at all, at all. And I was in a tough situation", Ridley said.
Ridley then says that he would like to see how others would have fared had they been in the same position he was, "I want to see how you would have handled it".
A second-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 2018, Ridley was one of the top receivers in the league in his first three seasons, catching 217 passes for 3,061 yards with 26 touchdowns. However, injuries and personal issues had a negative impact on his performance in 202|. Without being able to fully commit to playing football, the Alabama product chose to hang up the cleats.
It was during his suspension that he was suspended for betting on NFL games but he's been reinstated since March. Here's his conversation with the media along with Trevor Lawrence's and linebacker Foyesade Oluokun's.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are getting a fully motivated Calvin Ridley for 2023
If Ridley had chosen to keep his struggles private, nobody would blame him; he owed nobody any explanations. He made a mistake when he partook in gambling but he owned it up. Similarly, he was dealing with injuries that affected his mental health. NFL players often deal with this kind of issue but they often choose not to open up and deal with it in private.
Not long after Ridley announced his retirement, people questioned his reasons for stepping up as if he owed them something. Him placing bets didn't help matters but he was legitimately experiencing a rough period which is why he wanted to set the record straight when he wrote the letter.
Both Ridley's coaches and teammates say that he's excited to be back on the football field. And if he can recreate the success he had early in his career, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be getting a heck of a weapon.