The first step for Calvin Ridley’s return to the football field could begin Wednesday.
The Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver applied for reinstatement from his suspension that lasted through at least the 2022 season for gambling on NFL games during the 2021 season as a member of the Atlanta Falcons, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported.
While announcing the suspension, the league said Ridley could apply for reinstatement on Feb. 15, 2023.
Ridley acknowledged he bet on NFL games for a total of $1,500 and wrote on Twitter, ‘I don’t have a gambling problem.’
USA TODAY Sports’ messages to a representative for Ridley and the NFL for information and a timeline on reinstatement were not immediately returned.
Why was Calvin Ridley suspended?
Although the league has embraced legalized gambling and partnered with the largest operators in the business, the integrity of the game is an issue the NFL takes seriously.
While on the non-football injury list, Ridley placed mobile wagers in Florida through Hard Rock Sportsbook in late November 2021. The company recognized Ridley’s betting activity and informed the NFL’s sports data provider, Genius Sports, which alerted 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,’ NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to Ridley in a letter informing him of his indefinite suspension.
How much did Calvin Ridley bet?
Ridley made fewer than 10 bets and made three-, five- and eight-game parlay wagers. Ridley said he bet $1,500.
The league investigation found that although some of those parlays included the Falcons, it ‘uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.’ Additionally, no coaches, staff, teammates, or other players were aware of his betting activity.
In December, New York Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin was suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s gambling policy, although there was no indication he bet on NFL games.
How does Calvin Ridley fit in Jaguars offense?
On the day of the NFL trade deadline, a surprise name was on the move: Ridley.
The former Alabama wide receiver had not played since Week 7 of the 2021 campaign, but that didn’t stop the Jaguars from acquiring him. In head coach Doug Pederson’s offense, Ridley — upon his return — will be another option for quarterback Trevor Lawrence alongside Christian Kirk and Zay Jones.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.