Did you know Calvin Ridley‘s got-to meal before a home game is lemon pepper wings, a “little bit” of french fries, and mac and cheese?
Of course not.
However, Atlanta Falcons assistant equipment manager and Ridley’s right-hand man, Kenny, knows that and much more.
Ridley described he and Kenny’s relationship to the Players’ Tribune on “National Best Friend Day.”
He admitted that when he came to Atlanta, he had no clue that Kenny’s only job was the equipment manager because he was always doing more than what was expected of him.
“I was like, who is this guy? He’s gotta be like the president or something around here,” Ridley said.
Kenny says his main goal is to “run a perfect practice” and help Ridley put “100% of his focus on football” while Kenny worries about everything else.
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Ridley Calls Kenny His “Life Coach”
The one line that sparked players’ interest in Kenny is when he said “No matter how many people got more talent than you on the team, make sure nobody ever outworks you,” at practice and then walked away.
Since then, Ridley has become very fond of Kenny, who has four degrees, and considers him one of the smartest people he knows.
Kenny’s full-time job with the team didn’t kick in until after his third internship with the Falcons.
“I go back to work because you know I am still a full-time financial advisor,” Kenny said. “So, I go back to work and I’m doing my thing and helping people with investment goals and little things like that. But, I’m still thinking about, “what’s Matt Ryan up to?”, “what’s practice up to?”. That’s kind of where I started thinking that O.K., I need to probably do more of what I am happy with and have passion for than doing something for the money.”
Kenny has been with the Falcons franchise for 12 seasons now.
Ridley looks up to Kenny and says he hypes him up even a week in advance from kickoff.
“I started looking at him as someone I could talk to, look up to, and talk about anything,” Ridley said.
Aside from hyping Ridley up and making sure he is fueled for game time, Kenny also picks out his pregame outfits. He gives Ridley three options from different shoes to different visors but emphasizes that the sneakers are the most important part.
It’s Calvin Ridley’s Year to Shine
Ridley is going to need all the motivation he can get from Kenny as this year a lot more eyes will be on him and a lot more balls will be thrown in his direction.
Ridley is expected to hit his first 1,000-yard season in 2019, but an injury kept him from finishing the season. So, he carried that goal into the 2020 season.
In his third season with the Falcons, Ridley went beyond his goal, playing in all but one game, and posted 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns.
He has a lot more to look forward to this year as Ryan’s expected go-to guy and possibly an even bigger contract waiting for him at the end of the season.
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