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The Atlanta Falcons declined to engage in Calvin Ridley trade discussions for good reason.
The NFL announced Monday that it suspended the veteran wide receiver through “at least” the 2022 campaign for betting on games this past season.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, several teams reached out to the Falcons to inquire about Ridley, but they declined to hold discussions “out of good faith,” knowing he would be suspended.
The NFL concluded in an investigation that Ridley had bet on games during a five-day period in November 2021 while he was on the non-football illness list and wasn’t with the team. The 27-year-old had stepped away from the franchise in October to focus on his mental well-being.
The league’s investigation did not find that Ridley used inside information or that any game was compromised as a result of his betting. Ridley’s coaches and teammates also weren’t aware of his betting activity.
Ridley can appeal the suspension, but it is not yet known if he has done so. If he appeals and the suspension is upheld, he can’t apply for reinstatement until Feb. 15, 2023.
The 2018 first-round pick responded to the news on Twitter, stating he bet $1,500 total on games.
The Falcons also released the following statement:
“We were first made aware of the league’s investigation on Feb. 9. We have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions. We are moving forward in the 2022 season with the decision that was made. With the decision that was made by the NFL, any further questions on the investigation should be directed to the league office.”
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported in January that both the Falcons and Ridley “could be looking for a fresh start” in 2022. He added that his “educated prediction” was that the star receiver would be playing elsewhere next season.
Boardroom’s Jordan Schultz reported Monday that multiple teams had expressed interest in acquiring Ridley, including the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns, two receiver-needy teams.
Ridley has appeared in 49 games across four seasons for the Falcons, catching 248 passes for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns. His best season came in 2020, when he caught a career-high 90 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns.
Now that Ridley is no longer a trade option, interested teams will have to pivot. Davante Adams, Allen Robinson II, Chris Godwin, T.Y. Hilton and JuJu Smith-Schuster are among the wide receivers set to become free agents next week.
original source: Calvin Ridley Trade Rumors: Falcons Declined Talks Because of Gambling Suspension