Mental health awareness was brought to the forefront of the Atlanta Falcons organization during the 2021-22 season when star receiver Calvin Ridley announced on October 31 that he would be stepping away from football to focus on his mental health.
“These past few weeks have been very challenging for me 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. This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future,” Ridley wrote in a social media post.
“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.”
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The Falcons placed Ridley on the non-football injury list on November 5, with the expectation that he would be removed from that list once he was mentally ready to return to football.
But Ridley still hasn’t come back.
The fourth-year receiver — who is coming off a 90-catch, 1,374-yard season — missed 12 games this season, which has some NFL pundits speculating that his days as a Falcon could be numbered.
Steve Wyche of NFL Network said he thinks that Ridley and Atlanta are looking for a “fresh start.”
“I’d think so. The fact that he and the team have been so quiet and he hasn’t surfaced, it appears like both sides could be looking for a fresh start,” Wyche told 92.9 The Game.
Chiefs Named a Trade Candidate for Ridley
The Draft Network’s Justin Melo named three teams he believes should be interested in trading for the Alabama product, and names the Kansas City Chiefs as one of them. This is, of course, under the expectation that Ridley wants to continue playing in the NFL.
“Sticking with the ever-competitive AFC West, Kansas City’s offense would benefit greatly from adding another talented pass-catching weapon to help support the likes of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce,” Melo wrote. “Talks of acquiring a legitimate No. 2 receiver opposite Hill have been rampant over the last few seasons, but general manager Brett Veach has had difficulties doing so while navigating salary cap issues due to a plethora of talented players on both sides of the ball (it’s a good problem to have).”
Melo believes that if the Chiefs fall short of their goal this season — which is winning another championship — then general manager Brett Veach should be looking to make a splash next offseason in the receiver room.
“If they fail to achieve their goal, Veach will undoubtedly look to improve their personnel in the offseason. Acquiring a receiver such as Ridley may dominate Veach’s wishlist.
Twitter Reacts to Potential Chiefs-Ridley Match
Fans took to Twitter to discuss the potential of Ridley joining the defending AFC champions in 2022.
“Me when calvin ridley signs with the bucs or chiefs next season,” wrote Michael Bond, which included a GIF.
“If Calvin Ridley wants a fresh start he should do it with the Chiefs next season,” Chiefs 11-5 wrote.
“CALVIN RIDLEY TO THE CHIEFS IN THE OFF-SEASON PLEASE,” wrote TaiwanChiefsFan.
“@Chiefs need to go ahead and cut Mecole Hardman after this year and replace him with Calvin Ridley,” El’Myki wrote.
“@CalvinRidley1 come to the chiefs,” wrote lucid.