Calvin Ridley was officially reinstated by the NFL on Monday following an indefinite suspension that lasted one year for gambling on NFL games. Now in a letter posted on The Players’ Tribune on Wednesday, the Jaguars wide receiver apologized and opened up about his gambling suspension that caused him to miss the entire 2022 NFL season. Ridley also said that he had been battling depression and anxiety, which led him to betting on games.
Ridley wrote that when he gambled on the game, he was “in a dark moment” and “made a stupid mistake.” He said: “I f—ed up … I’m not here to sugarcoat anything. In 2021, I made the worst mistake of my life by gambling on football.” Ridley said he battled anxiety and was depressed, particularly as he dealt with injuries. Ridley played through 2020 with a broken foot and dealt with bone spurs during his first two seasons in the league with the Falcons.
Ridley said it was because of his love of the game that he wanted to explain his story about what happened when he gambled. He said:“I was just doing it [gambling] to root on my boys, basically. I didn’t have any inside information. I wasn’t even talking to anybody on the team at the time. I was totally off the grid. Whenever people ask, ‘What were you thinking?’ The only answer I can give is, ‘I wasn’t … When you’re depressed, you’re not thinking about anything in the future. You’re just trying to get through the day.” He described his meeting with NFL investigators as “probably the worst day of my life …But honestly, maybe I had to go through all of it. Maybe I had to hit rock bottom so I could get healthy.”
Now that he is reinstated, Ridley is set for his first season with the Jaguars after he was traded from the Falcons to Jacksonville in November. He thanked the Jaguars, and said: “Football saved my life. It’s still my purpose. I still love it, maybe now more than ever.”
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