Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been reinstated by the NFL, the league announced Monday.
“Ridley, who had been suspended indefinitely since March 2022 for violating the NFL’s gambling policy, is eligible to participate in all team activities, effective immediately,” an official statement from the league said.
Ridley applied for reinstatement last month on the first date he was eligible to do so.
The Pro Bowler was suspended after being found betting during a five-day period on NFL games in November 2021 when he was away from the team on the non-football illness list.
“Today’s reinstatement by the NFL brings an end to a challenging chapter of my professional career, one that was self-inflicted and began with an isolated lapse in judgment,” Ridley said in an official statement. “I have always owned my mistakes and this is no different. I have great respect for the game and am excited for the opportunity to restart my career in Jacksonville. I look forward to showing my new coaches, teammates, and the entire Jaguars organization exactly who I am and what I represent as a player and person.”
“The Jaguars organization is aware of the NFL’s ruling to reinstate Calvin Ridley,” the team added. “We look forward to building a relationship with Calvin as both an individual and as a player. Calvin is a proven playmaker and we are excited to see him compete among and with his new teammates, first during our Offseason Program in April and ultimately into the 2023 season, as we collectively pursue a championship for Jacksonville.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ended up sending a letter to Ridley condemning his actions and reminding him of the strict policy against gambling for players.
“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success — and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league — than upholding the integrity of the game,” Goodell said in the letter.
“This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.
“For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.”
Ridley went on social media after learning of his suspension, and while he admitted to gambling, he said he didn’t have an addiction to it.
The Jaguars, knowing that Ridley wouldn’t be able to play for them until 2023, made the trade with Atlanta in November. They sent a 2023 fifth-round pick and 2024 conditional fourth-round pick to the Falcons.
“This is an opportunity to add a proven playmaker to our already talented wide receiver room as we continue to build our roster for 2023 and beyond. We are looking forward to finishing strong this season and integrating Calvin into our program at the appropriate time,” Jaguars GM Trent Baalke said at the time.
The Jaguars made the postseason this past season after a second-half push thanks to solid offense from Trevor Lawrence & Co. Ridley is expected to make an immediate impact for them this season in a group of wide receivers that includes Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Marvin Jones Jr.