NFL Player Is Sidelined to Focus on Mental Health

Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons is stepping away from the game
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 1, 2021 11:00 AM CDT
NFL Player Taking Mental Health Break
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) makes a diving touchdown reception in September.   (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio, File)

Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley says he's stepping away from football, at least temporarily, to focus on his mental health. Ridley was a last-minute scratch from Sunday's game against Carolina, the second game he's missed this season for what the team would only describe as a personal matter. But Ridley went on social media Sunday to provide more details on what he's going through, per the AP. "These past few weeks have been very challenging 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,” Ridley wrote on Twitter. He thanked the Falcons for their understanding, while giving no timetable for his possible return.

"This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future," he said. Coming off the best season of his career in 2020 and expected to claim an even bigger role in the offense after Julio Jones was traded, Ridley follows other prominent athletes such as tennis star Naomi Osaka and gold medal gymnast Simone Biles in revealing the mental health challenges of their high-pressure professions. For the season, Ridley has 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns. "I'll let Calvin speak for himself," coach Arthur Smith said. "It's a personal issue, so I'm not going to go into any details."

(Read more mental health stories.)

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