Star receiver has been away from the team dealing with a personal matter Scott Bair
Calvin Ridley missed most of the 2021 Falcons season dealing with a personal matter.
His last game was a Week 7 victory over Miami. He issued a statement the following week, just before the Falcons played the Carolina Panthers at home, saying that he was stepping away from football to focus on his mental wellbeing.
Ridley first took leave before a Week 5 game against the Jets in London, and again just before the Panthers game.
Head coach Arthur Smith was asked about Ridley several times during the regular season and he responded the same way every time - stating there was no update to provide.
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General manager Terry Fontenot was also asked about Ridley during Tuesday's end-of-the-season press conference.
The latest news is that there is no news regarding Ridley.
"It really hasn't changed," Fontenot said. "As an organization, we've done the best job we could to support Calvin and do everything we can for him. I know he made the statement when he did, and that we made a statement during the season as well. Up to this point, nothing has really changed."
Fontenot was then asked if he anticipated Ridley being with the Falcons in 2022. As a note, the team exercised his fifth-year option last May, keeping him under contract next season.
"We have a roster with a lot of players you could ask that about, but we're obviously not going to answer those questions," Fontenot said. "Regarding him specifically, nothing has changed and we continue to support him."
Ridley came up again later in the 30-minute presser, in reference to receiver being more of a team need if the top-flight pass catcher doesn't return.
"I wouldn't assume anything. We handle each situation individually," Fontenot said. "There are so many variables we deal with. We're going to try to add to every position this offseason. Whether we're talking about any player, under contract or not under contract, we have to be prepared for everything."
The Falcons will need to address the receiver position this offseason no matter what, with every pass catcher save Ridley and Frank Darby on an expiring contract. That includes Russell Gage, one of the NFL's best third-down targets, and Olamide Zaccheaus.
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