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Calvin Ridley announces he’s stepping away from football

Calvin Ridley, Falcons

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has announced he’s stepping away from football.

The fourth-year wide receiver was inactive for his team’s Week 8 matchup with the Carolina Panthers due to a personal matter. It’s the second game Ridley has missed this season due to personal issues. He didn’t travel with the Falcons to London for an October 10th game against the New York Jets, but did play in Atlanta’s subsequent game last week, tallying four catches for 26 yards on 10 targets.

Ridley made the announcement on Twitter during the fourth quarter of his team’s game against the Panthers, saying an indefinite leave from football “will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future.”

Ridley indirectly addressed his mental health the last time he spoke with the media on October 21st, but declined to go into specifics.

“I mean, in today’s world, me personally, it shouldn’t matter, you should mind your business,” Ridley said of public interest in factors contributing to his mental health issues, per ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “But in today’s world, yeah, I do. To me, if I say it’s personal, that means it’s personal.”

A first-round pick in 2018 after a standout college career at Alabama, Ridley finished last season with 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns, all career-highs. He has 31 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns in 2021.