Calvin Ridley: Gambling on football was the worst mistake of my life

Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley was reinstated earlier this week after serving a season-long suspension for gambling on NFL games.

Upon his reinstatement, Ridley released a statement through the team saying that he’s excited to restart his career.

But on Wednesday, Ridley delved a lot deeper into what happened in a written piece for The Players Tribune.

In it, Ridley candidly says, “I f***ed up” and calls his decision to bet on NFL games “the worst mistake of my life.”

He explains in detail how he got to that point, noting that he played much of the 2020 season on a broken foot, taking painkillers to get through games. And then his house was robbed, adding to his level of stress and anxiety.

So, during the 2021 season, Ridley stepped away from the team to deal with his mental health issues. And he says he wasn’t really thinking when he placed the bets that would get him suspended.

“I just f***ed up. Period,” Ridley writes. “In a dark moment, I made a stupid mistake. I wasn’t trying to cheat the game. That’s the thing I want to make clear. At the time, I had been completely away from the team for about a month. I was still just so depressed and angry, and the days were so long. I was looking for anything to take my mind off of things and make the day go by faster.

“One day, I saw a TV commercial for a betting app, and for whatever reason, I downloaded it on my phone. I deposited like $1,500 total, literally just for something to do. I was going to bet like $200 on some NBA games that night, but then I just added a bunch more games to a parlay. I put the Falcons in on it. I was just doing it to root on my boys, basically. I didn’t have any inside information. I wasn’t even talking to anybody on the team at the time. I was totally off the grid.”

Ridley said that the NFL investigators calling him in was probably the worst day of his life, but he expresses that he might have needed to hit “rock bottom” to come out the other side healthy.

And now that he’s with Jacksonville, he’s looking forward to a big season.

“Right now, I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt — mentally and physically,” Ridley writes. “On the field, I’m flying. Believe me, I’m flying. That GPS band don’t lie. On my daughter’s name, if I’m healthy? With Trevor Lawrence? I’m giving Jacksonville 1,400 yards a season, period.”

Ridley was a second-team All-Pro in 2020 when he caught 90 passes for 1,374 yards with nine touchdowns. Jacksonville acquired him in November for a pair of conditional draft picks.

Calvin Ridley: Gambling on football was the worst mistake of my life originally appeared on Pro Football Talk