It has been quite a while since Calvin Ridley stepped on the field for an NFL game. Following Week 6 of the 2021 season, Ridley stepped away from the Atlanta Falcons to address mental health-related issues. He remained out for the entirety of that season, and then was suspended for the 2022 season for violating the league's gambling policy after he bet on NFL games while away from the team.
During his suspension, Ridley was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He's back on the field now for organized team activities, though Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said the team is taking it a bit easier on him as he ramps back up to playing.
"A little bit," Pederson said when asked if Ridley's workload was related to his needing to acclimate to the system, via NFL Media. "That and just want to be careful with him. He is coming off -- he hasn't played in a while, plus the injury. We're just trying to be careful with him. He's done an outstanding job for us. He's the type of guy that you have to kinda pump the brakes with. He wants to go so much and so fast and so hard out there at practice that we just kind of have to pump the brakes and just tell him now's not the time. But he's doing a great job. He's picking up the offense well. The times he's working with Trevor [Lawrence], they're on the same page, they're connecting, and those are good things to see right now in the offseason."
Ridley is expected to operate as the Jaguars' No. 1 receiver this season, forming a strong trio with Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. Developing chemistry with Lawrence is of paramount importance; but again, he hasn't played since October of 2021, so the Jaguars want to make sure he is healthy heading into the season.
"Just more or less just being cautious with him," Pederson said. "And really, just making sure that he's, again, he hasn't played a ton of football and just want to make sure he's ready to go for camp."