Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley steps away from the game due to his mental health. He announced Sunday via Twitter that he has to “step away from football at this time” to focus on mental health, per ESPN.
Ridley missed his second game this year to deal with personal issues. In fact, he has been in and out of the lineup all year. Early October, he didn’t travel to London with the team to take on the New York Jets, although he did play against the Miami Dolphins the following week. Ridley later admitted that past weeks were challenging for him as he was dealing with external issues that had nothing to do with football.
“These past few weeks have been very challenging and as much as I’d like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing,” Ridley said in a statement on Twitter. “This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future.”
— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) October 31, 2021
Atlanta Falcons Arthur Smith and Matt Ryan’s Thoughts
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith declined to go into further details about Ridley’s situation. Yesterday evening, without Ridley the Falcons suffered a loss to a divisional rival the Carolina Panthers, 19-13. They prepared all week with Ridley and expected him to be involved in the game plan, however, Smith learned the receiver will not be in attendance Sunday morning.
“Calvin’s dealing with something personal,” Smith said. “And it’s going to remain personal on my end. Calvin’s statement speaks for him, and so when we got here today, we talked and put him inactive.”
Ridley’s teammates also expressed their support for him going forward a she begins to deal with his personal issues.
“Certainly wish Calvin all the best,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “We love him and support him and he’s a great friend and a great person, so we all support him as he’s going through this.”
Calvin Ridley’s Will Soon Return to the Falcons
The 26-year-old has recorded 31 catches and 281 yards this season. Ridley was present all week at the Falcons practices. He was also at the community event in the city that was hosted by the team. Yet he didn’t feel fit to play in this week’s game against the Panthers. He recently discussed the personal issue when he spoke to the media last on October 21st.
“I mean, in today’s world, me personally, it shouldn’t matter, you should mind your business,” Ridley said about understanding why people would be interested in what’s going on. “But in today’s world, yeah, I do. To me, if I say it’s personal, that means it’s personal.”
Ridley said then he believed it would be a short-term issue.