NFL reinstates Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley after year-long suspension for gambling
(CNN) — Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been reinstated after he was suspended indefinitely after gambling on NFL games during the 2021 season as a member of the Atlanta Falcons, the league said Monday.
“Ridley, who had been suspended indefinitely since March 2022 for violating the NFL’s gambling policy, is eligible to participate in all team activities, effective immediately,” officials said.
Ridley, 28, said the suspension was self-inflicted and “an isolated lapse in judgment.”
“I have always owned my mistakes and this is no different,” Ridley said in a statement. “I have great respect for the game and am excited for the opportunity to restart my career in Jacksonville. I look forward to showing my new coaches, teammates, and the entire Jaguars organization exactly who I am and what I represent as a player and person.”
Ridley’s last NFL game was October 24, 2021, after which he stepped away from football to focus on his mental health.
The Jaguars, who are scheduled to hold their first workouts of the offseason next month, welcomed the NFL’s decision.
“We look forward to building a relationship with Calvin as both an individual and as a player. Calvin is a proven playmaker and we are excited to see him compete among and with his new teammates, first during our Offseason Program in April and ultimately into the 2023 season, as we collectively pursue a championship for Jacksonville.”
Jacksonville was 9-8 last season and made the playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the AFC.
In 2022, the league said the gambling allegedly took place during a five-day period in late November 2021 while Ridley was not with the team and was away from the club’s facility on the non-football illness list.
The former Alabama standout tweeted that he “bet 1500 total” but added, “I don’t have a gambling problem.”
Subsequent tweets included him saying, “I know I was wrong But I’m getting 1 year lol” and “If you know me you know my character.”
The NFL’s investigation found no evidence that any game was compromised in any way by Ridley’s actions.
Ridley won two national championships during his time at the University of Alabama and was a first-round draft pick for the Falcons in 2018. He had 248 receptions and 28 touchdowns in 49 games in Atlanta, according to NFL.com. In 2020, he was a second team All-Pro selection.
The Falcons traded Ridley in November 2022 to the Jaguars in exchange for draft picks.