Calvin Ridley hasn’t seen the field since the beginning of the 2021 campaign. Now playing in Jacksonville, the Jaguars intend to bring Ridley along slowly as he prepares for his return. Jaguars coach Doug Pederson told reporters that the team is being careful with Ridley and is limiting him during OTAs, per ESPN’s Michael DiRocco (on Twitter).
“He’s done an outstanding job for us,” Pederson said (via the team’s website). “He’s picking up the offense. The times that he’s working with Trevor [Lawrence], they’re on the same page, they’re connecting.
“He wants to go so much and so fast and so hard out there at practice that we just have to pump the brakes and just tell him, ‘Hey, now’s not the time.’ He hasn’t played in a while, plus the injury, so we’re just trying to be careful with him.”
Ridley earned a second-team All-Pro nod with the Falcons in 2020 after finishing with 90 catches for 1,374 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. The wideout later revealed he played most of that season with a broken foot, and after starting each of the first five games of the 2021 campaign, Ridley announced that he was stepping away from football for mental health reasons. It was later announced that Ridley would be suspended for the entire 2022 campaign for gambling on games.
The receiver was traded to the Jaguars in November, and he was reinstated from his suspension in March. He’ll be joining a receivers room that also includes Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. The Jaguars can lean on those top two wideouts while Ridley prepares for his first full season since 2020.
“I have to gradually get my body back to football and be peaking going into the season – not out here [in OTAs],” Ridley said (via the team’s website). “I’m kind of picking it up a little bit, just trying to get myself the reps I could get. But they just want me to slowly build towards the season.
“Of course, I expect I would be a little rusty because you can’t really get ready for this. Just running every day is what really causes you get sore. I just have to make sure I build and not be sore in the season.”