Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley announces he’s stepping away from the sport

Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley has announced he is taking some time away from the NFL, citing mental health concerns.

Ridley, 26, had been ruled out of this week’s game just hours before kick-off, citing personal reasons.

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It was the second game in the past three weeks that Ridley had missed – and then while the team were playing on Sunday, Ridley posted on various social media pages that he would be stepping away from playing sport to focus on improving his mental health.

“These past few weeks have been very challenging and as much as I’d like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing,” he wrote in a statement.

“This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future.”

Ridley was a standout for Alabama in college football, before being drafted by the Falcons in the first round in 2018.

He quickly emerged as a key man for Atlanta’s offence, breaking the record for most touchdowns in a season by a rookie (10), and becoming the leader reciever on the team by the 2020 season.

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His decision to walk away from the sport was largely praised by fans, with mental health of athletes slowly becoming more a priority in what has traditionally been a ‘win at all costs’ environment.

The Falcons ended up losing Sunday’s game to the rival Carolina Panthers, 19-13.

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