After an entire year away from football, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley is primed to add to the excitement throughout Duval County and remind the NFL exactly who he is.
Ridley, who was suspended the entire 2022 season for betting on NFL games, is ready to step back into the spotlight and build on his breakout year in 2020. Following his first two seasons in Atlanta playing second fiddle to Julio Jones, the star wideout emerged as a primary target catching 90 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns.
With mental health leading him away from the game five games into the 2021 season, Ridley went from one of the more hyped offensive targets in the NFL to one of the biggest question marks. Then the suspension happened which kept him away from the game even longer.
Two years later, Calvin Ridley has an opportunity to turn an already explosive Jaguars offense into an even more explosive machine, especially with him catching the ball from an emerging young quarterback like Trevor Lawrence.
Sounds like a fantasy connection, but one of the bigger questions in Jacksonville is the buy in of Ridley. The talent is well recognized, but will the 28-year-old receiver immediately return to the player who was a such a dynamic weapon for the Falcons?
Calvin Ridley makes a Jaguars offense even more lethal
With the talent around him headlined by Lawrence, he is in the perfect situation and surroundings to show the team and the NFL that the trade that brought him to Jacksonville was not only a steal for the Jags but a rebirth for a player who has battled personal issues and now seeking a reawakening on a team with high expectations.
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So far, Ridley has been impressive as a weapon and as a teammate.
"“I’ve been really impressed with Calvin,” Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor told reporters. “I’ve watched every snap Calvin’s played in the NFL, just like a lot of our guys have, so we’re very confident in the player we’re getting. And then to be able to meet him in person, we’ve had a lot of people vouch for him going back to when we acquired him.”"
Furthermore, Ridley is a talent who should make the players around him even better. Not only will Lawrence have another weapon in his arsenal, players like Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and tight end Evan Engram will get more opportunity to shine with Ridley as a focal point in the offense.
Not to put too much pressure on a player who has been out of the league for nearly two NFL seasons, but Calvin Ridley will quickly remind the NFL who he is and lift the Jaguars into an even more dangerous football team in 2023.