Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley announced in a statement posted to social media on Sunday that he is leaving the NFL to “focus on [his] mental wellbeing.”
“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 in his statement, which was shared on Twitter.
“This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future,” the star athlete added.
In his Sunday statement, Ridley also shared a message of gratitude toward his teammates, loved ones, and supporters.
“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,” the athlete said.
— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) October 31, 2021
Well-wishes from fans, friends
According to The Hill, Ridley, who is 26, missed a game earlier this season over “personal matters,” but he declined to elaborate when pressed by reporters.
His decision to leave the pro football league has prompted words of support for Ridley. Fellow football star Michael Thomas, who currently plays for the New Orleans Saints, wrote in a tweet: “I’m standing in that hole with you [Calvin]. Keep GOING!”
I’m standing in that hole with you @CalvinRidley1 . Keep GOING! You one of them ones fasho 🤞🏾
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) October 31, 2021
Fans have also defended the Falcons star, with one Twitter user remarking that “whatever Calvin Ridley is dealing with is none of our business.”
In an interview, teammate Grady Jarrett said he and the team are also completely behind Ridley in his decision. “If he says he needs this time for him, he needs this time for him,” Jarrett reportedly said. “We love him, we respect him, and we support him.”
— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) October 31, 2021