NFL Media names Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley someone to root for in 2023

Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley talks with media inside the TV Studio of TIAA Bank Field.
Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley talks with media inside the TV Studio of TIAA Bank Field. / Juston Lewis/Florida Times-Union / USA

It's easy to forget all the physical and mental hurdles football players have to clear to be ready for Game Day. In particular, wide receiver Calvin Ridley has faced lots of obstacles over the last two years but he's now fully focused to help the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2023. Due to all the adversity he's dealt with, Jason McCourty of NFL Media included him on his list of 32 people to root for next season.

McCourty chose one player -- one from each team -- that has overcome challenges and wants to see succeed in 2023. For the Jags, he picked Ridley, who retired in 2021 and was subsequently suspended for betting on football games. Now, healthy and cleared to play, the Alabama product is expected to have a massive impact in Jacksonville. Here's what McCourty had to say.

"We all make mistakes and it's tough to own them -- especially in the public eye -- but what matters is how you respond. Ridley appears to be locked in and determined to get back to form on the field, as he's already put in work with Trevor Lawrence. Ridley can elevate Lawrence's game to new heights and help get the Jags back to the playoffs."

When he hung up the cleats, Ridley cited his mental health as the main reason but he was dealing a lot. Besides playing with a broken foot, his home had been the target of a burglary. Simply, he wasn't in the right state of mind, and stepping away from football seemed like the best course of action. However, the 2018 second-round pick made the mistake of betting on NFL games, which is strictly prohibited and clearly detailed in the conduct policy.

This led to an indefinite suspension beginning in 2022. Nevertheless, the Jaguars took a chance on Ridley and traded for him before last year's deadline. The Florida native applied for reinstatement in February and it was granted to him in March.

Not long after getting to know his teammates and the facilities at TIAA Bank Field, Ridley talked about how excited he is to remind everyone how great he is in 2023. In case you missed it, he's his first exchange with the local media as a member of the Jaguars.

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley is an example of perseverance

As Calvin Ridley can attest, sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn. He accepts that he made a mistake when he placed bets on NFL games but he won't let it define him. He's also aware that he was at a low point but he wasn't making any excuses. Instead, he stepped away from the spotlight, worked on healing and he's now ready to pick up where he left off in 2020, when he hauled in 90 receptions for 1,374 yards with nine touchdowns for the Atlanta Falcons.

Now, Ridley join a wide receiver group that includes Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Jamal Angew. Trevor Lawrence should keep getting better in Year 3 and the addition of Ridley could turn the offense into one of the best units of the league. Last season, Jacksonville ranked 10th in points scored. It wouldn't be shocking if they make it to the top 5 in 2023.

Everyone deserves a second chance and the Jacksonville Jaguars gave one to Ridley. You can tell he's grateful and making the most out of it, which makes him someone to root for in 2023.

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