(CBS Sports) — Calvin Ridley stepped away from the Falcons — and the NFL — after just five games in the 2021 season, citing mental health reasons. The star wide receiver won’t be returning anytime soon. A week before the official start of the offseason, the NFL announced Monday that the 27-year-old Ridley has been suspended indefinitely — at least through the 2022 season — for betting on NFL games during his absence from football last season.
“(Ridley’s illegal) activity took place during a five-day period in late November 2021 while Ridley was not with the team and was away from the club’s facility on the non-football illness list,” the NFL said in a statement. “A league investigation uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way. Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by coaches, staff, teammates, or other players of his betting activity.”
“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,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Ridley informing the wide receiver of the suspension. “That 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.”