Atlanta Falcons star Calvin Ridley announced on Sunday that he is stepping “away from football” to focus on his mental health.
The 26-year-old was declared inactive by the Falcons for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers in the morning due to a personal matter.
It was the second time this season that the wide receiver has been inactive with that designation. He didn’t travel to London for the team’s Week 5 game against the New York Jets on October 10. After a bye week, Ridley played against the Miami Dolphins on October 24.
And during the Falcons’ 19-13 defeat to the Panthers on Sunday, Ridley posted a statement on Twitter in which he said he would be taking a break from the NFL.
“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 said.
“This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future. 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.”
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said he learned of Ridley’s absence on Sunday morning and that there would be no timeline for his return.
Ridley has 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in five games this season. He was voted as a second-team All-Pro last season after racking up career highs in catches and yards (1,374) with nine touchdowns.
His teammates wished him the best and offered him support after the loss, including quarterback Matt Ryan.
“Certainly wish Calvin all the best,” Ryan said. “We love him and support him. He’s a great friend and a great person. We all support him as he’s going through this.”