Falcons’ Arthur Smith, Matt Ryan Address Calvin Ridley’s Decision

Matt ryan on Calvin ridley's decision

Getty Calvin Ridley #18 of the Atlanta Falcons catches a pass for a touchdown during the second quarter in the game against Miami.

On Sunday, Oct. 31 against the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons starting wide receiver, Calvin Ridley, was deemed inactive due to personal reasons––marking the second time that happened this season.

His unknown absence raised a lot of questions and concerns. But fans received some clarity in the second half after Ridley announced that he would be stepping away from football until further notice:

“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 wrote on Twitter. “This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future. I want to thank my teammates, the entire Atlanta Falcons organization, our great fans, my friends, and my family for all of their support during this time.”

While this was heartbreaking for many Falcons fans and his teammates, he received a lot of support for putting himself first, including from head coach Arthur Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan.

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Matt Ryan on Ridley’s Decision: ‘We Love Him and We Support Him’

The Falcons lost 19-10 and while the defense performed well, the offense struggled without Ridley.

“We love him and we support him… We all support him as he’s going through this.

He’s a great player, and you try to utilize other guys when he’s not up,” Ryan said in the Falcons post-game press conference last Sunday. “We still have enough players. We trust the guys that are up on game day to go make plays, and unfortunately, we just fell a little bit short.”

Ryan finished the day 20-of-27 for 146 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Without Ridley, backup receiver Tajea Sharpe was able to see the field more, and moving forward, Ryan has a lot of confidence in Sharpe to fill the vacant position.

“I think Tajae has done a good job all year,” Ryan said. “At different times where he has been asked to go in and make plays, I thought he did that for us today. Made a couple of good plays. I have a lot of confidence in Tajae that he will go in and be a good player for us.”

Sharpe led the team through the air against Carolina, catching five out of his six targets for 58 yards.

Ridley HC Told Arthur Smith the Right Before the Carolina Game

Ridley didn’t come forward about his decision until right before the Falcons took on Carolina, Smith revealed after the loss.

He didn’t comment any further, saying Ridley’s announcement should speak for itself.

“I’ll let Calvin speak for himself, Smith said. “I’m not going into any details. It’s like any other injury.”

Ridley didn’t show up to practice this week and his status remains up in the air as the team prepares to take on the New Orleans Saints on the road. And to boost their wide receiver depth for Week 9, the Falcons brought back Marvin Hall.

So far this season, Ridley has recorded 31 catches, 281 yards, two touchdowns and 9.1 yards per catch. Since being drafted in the first round in 2018, Ridely has totaled 248 catches, 3,342 yards, 28 touchdowns and 13.5 yards per catch.


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