Michael DiRoccoESPN Writer3 minute read
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The NFL on Monday fully reinstated Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley from his suspension for violating league play policy.
Ridley, who had requested reinstatement from his indefinite suspension for playing NFL games on Feb. 15, is now eligible to participate in all team activities immediately.
“Today’s reinstatement by the NFL brings to an end a difficult chapter in my professional career, a self-inflicted chapter that began with isolated poor judgment,” Ridley said in a statement. “I’ve always owned up to my mistakes and this is no different. I have great respect for the game and am thrilled at the opportunity to restart my career in Jacksonville. I can’t wait to show my new coaches, teammates and the entire Jaguars organization who I am and what I represent as a player and as a person.”
The Jaguars also released a statement saying they were eager to bring Ridley into the attack: “Calvin is a proven playmaker and we are delighted to see him compete among and with his new teammates, first during our off-season program in April and ultimately into the 2023 season as we collectively pursue a championship for Jacksonville.”
Ridley was suspended for at least the 2022 season on March 7 last year after an investigation revealed he bet on NFL games over a five-day period in November 2021 while he was away from the Atlanta Falcons. A league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter last March that the league determined Riley placed parlay bets that included the Falcons to win via his out-of-state mobile device.
In a series of tweets after the suspension was announced, Ridley admitted his bets totaled $1,500 but said he didn’t have a gambling problem.
The Jaguars traded for Ridley on Nov. 1 — sending the Falcons a fifth-round pick in 2023 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2024 that could rise to the level of a second-round pick if the Jaguars sign Ridley for an extension. Ridley will now receive a guaranteed $11.116 million in 2023 as a fifth-year option on the rookie deal he signed with the Falcons after being drafted 26th overall in 2018.
Ridley has not played in an NFL game since October 24, 2021. Ridley left the Falcons seven days later and said in a statement that he “needs to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental well-being.
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. If he’s able to play at a similar level to what he has done in 2020 (90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns), the Jaguars could have one of the best offenses in the NFL.
Ridley will join a Jaguars pass-catching unit that was bolstered last year by free agent signings. The Jaguars signed receivers Christian Kirk (four years, $72 million, $37 million guaranteed) and Zay Jones (three years, $24 million, $14 million guaranteed) and tight end Evan Engram (a year, $9 million) for free agent contracts last March, and all three set career highs in receptions and receiving yards.
The Jaguars officially placed the franchise tag on Engram on Monday, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Sources had told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler last week that Engram was expected to receive the tag.
The Jaguars finished 10th in the NFL in scoring (23.8 ppg), passing (232.9 yards) and total offense (357.4 yards) in 2022.