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'I wanted to be with the Jaguars': Calvin Ridley provides insights to why he chose Titans

Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley’s introductory press conference with the Tennessee Titans gave insights to what led the talented pass catcher to sign elsewhere.

Ridley signed a four-year, $92 million deal that makes him one of the highest paid players at his position.

Because of a clause in the original trade with the Atlanta Falcons that made Ridley a Jaguar, he had to wait until the new league year began to potentially re-sign with Jacksonville.

It was reported the Jaguars and New England Patriots were the two favorites to land him, but the Titans came in with a late offer neither team could match.

Tennessee Titans newly signed free agent wide receiver Calvin Ridley fields questions during his introduction to the media at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, March 15, 2024.
Tennessee Titans newly signed free agent wide receiver Calvin Ridley fields questions during his introduction to the media at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, March 15, 2024.

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“I really wanted to, honestly, be with the [Jaguars],” Ridley said on Friday. “But there was a lot of things wasn’t working out for me. So, I chose the Titans. Obviously, the money was pretty good.”

Ridley is coming off a season where he recorded 76 catches for 1,016 yards while scoring eight touchdowns. It was a good showing for someone who spent nearly two years away from the sport for mental health reasons and a year-long suspension for gambling.

His play last year vaulted him to become the best available receiver of this free agent class and made him a valuable target for the Titans.

But even aside from the contract, there was some mutual attraction between Ridley and the Titans. Ridley wanted to play with another outside receiver who’s capable of commanding the same respect that he does.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 22: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts with Calvin Ridley at the conclusion of an NFL game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 22: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts with Calvin Ridley at the conclusion of an NFL game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

In Atlanta, that receiver was Julio Jones for him, but it’s something the Jaguars lacked last season. Tennessee, however, has a player who fits the mold of what Ridley was looking for.

“I think playing them twice a year, I was watching them and looking at the things they did have,” Ridley said. “I know that [DeAndre Hopkins] is here and I know that I want to play with another receiver on the other side that can help me do what I do best.”

Hopkins has long been a top talent in the league and even with a rotating door of quarterbacks with the Titans last season, he still managed to record 75 catches, 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) greets fans after defeating Jacksonville Jaguars 28-20 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) greets fans after defeating Jacksonville Jaguars 28-20 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.

“I train with him all the time,” Ridley said of Hopkins. “I can learn a lot … he’s been consistent his whole career.

“His catching, his routes, just his mentality to be a dog and a real high caliber player. Like I said, I train with him all the time, have a bunch of conversation with him. I’m very excited to play with him.”

Juston Lewis is a Jacksonville Jaguars beat reporter for the Florida Times-Union. You can follow him on the website formerly known as Twitter at @JustonLewis_.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Calvin Ridley on free agency: 'I really wanted to be with the Jaguars'