Monday’s proposed six-game suspension for quarterback Deshaun Watson gives the Browns an idea of when they are likely to get Deshaun Watson active on their roster, but what about the Falcons with Calvin Ridley?
Ridley, Atlanta’s first-round NFL draft pick in 2018, is serving a suspension through at least the end of this season for gambling on NFL games.
What exactly happened with Ridley?
In March, five months after Ridley had stepped away from the team saying he needed to focus on his mental health, the NFL announced Ridley would be suspended at least through the end of this season for gambling on NFL games. Three of the bets involved Falcons games after he had stepped away from the team, a source told The Athletic at the time of the suspension. Though the NFL’s personal conduct policy allows degrees of punishment, the punishments for gambling are outlined in the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
When is Ridley coming back?
The expectation is Ridley will be eligible for organized team activities next year and the 2023 season, but the league’s suspension leaves the door open for more missed time. The NFL indicated Ridley cooperated with the league’s investigation, which is a good start, so if he shows contrition and doesn’t violate any more league rules, it’s likely he will play again in 2023.
Will that be with the Falcons?
That seems unlikely. The Falcons were blindsided by the suspension (and the league said in a statement it found no evidence that anyone in the organization knew of the situation before the suspension) and already were wondering how much they could count on Ridley after he walked away from the team in October. In the offseason, Atlanta drafted wide receiver Drake London with the No. 8 pick, traded for wide receiver Bryan Edwards and signed six veteran free-agent wide receivers.
It would be an unfortunate end to what started as a promising partnership. Ridley was the No. 26 pick in 2018 and averaged more than 1,000 receiving yards a season in his first three years.
(Photo: Dale Zanine / USA Today)