The Atlanta Falcons entered Sunday’s divisional matchup with the Panthers without their top receiver, as Calvin Ridley was a late scratch due to personal reasons. It’s the second time Ridley has stepped away from the team to deal for personal reasons, as he didn’t make the trip to London earlier this year.
During the game, Ridley released a statement further explaining the situation, and while he didn’t provide specifics, he did note that he would be stepping away from football to take care of his “mental wellbeing.”
Hopefully Ridley is able to get whatever he needs to taken care of off of the field so he can be in the right mental space to play on Sundays again, as he has steadily emerged as one of the league’s best receivers — and his presence was a significant reason why the Falcons were willing to accommodate a Julio Jones trade this offseason. As Ridley notes in his statement, the Falcons have given him the time and space to take care of himself, which is not always the case in professional sports, but as more players have spoken up about mental health battles they’ve faced, it has become more common for teams to provide time and resources to players who need it.