Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley was reinstated earlier this week after being suspended for a season for gambling at NFL games.
Following his reinstatement, Ridley released a statement through the team saying he was excited to resume his career.
But on Wednesday, Ridley delved much deeper into what happened in a written article for The Players Tribune.
In it, Ridley openly says, “I screwed it up” and calls his decision to bet on NFL games “the worst mistake of my life.”
He explains in detail how he got to this point, noting that he played with a broken foot for much of the 2020 season and was on painkillers to get through games. And then his house was robbed, adding to his stress and anxiety.
During the 2021 season, Ridley left the team to deal with his mental health issues. And he says he wasn’t really thinking when he placed the bets that would suspend him.
“I just messed it up. Period,” writes Ridley. “In a dark moment, I made a stupid mistake. I wasn’t trying to cheat the game. That’s what I want to make clear. At this point I had been completely away from the team for about a month. I was still so depressed and angry and the days were so long. I was looking for something to distract myself and make the day go by faster.
“One day I saw a TV ad for a betting app and for some reason I downloaded it to my phone. I deposited a total of about $1,500 literally just for something to do. I was going to bet about $200 on some NBA games that night, but then I just added a few more games into a combo. I put the falcons on it. I basically just did it to cheer on my boys. I had no inside information. I didn’t speak to anyone on the team at the time. I was completely off the grid.”
Ridley said the NFL investigators who called him up were probably the worst day of his life, but he expressed that he might have had to hit “rock bottom” to come out the other side safe.
And now that he’s with Jacksonville, he’s looking forward to a big season.
“Right now I feel stronger than ever – mentally and physically,” Ridley writes. “I fly in the field. Believe me, I’m flying. The GPS band doesn’t lie. In my daughter’s name if I’m healthy? With Trevor Lawrence? I give Jacksonville 1,400 yards a season, period.”
Ridley was a second-team All-Pro in 2020 when he caught 90 passes for 1,374 yards with nine touchdowns. Jacksonville acquired him in November for a pair of conditional draft picks.
Calvin Ridley: Playing Football Was the Worst Mistake of My Life originally appeared on Pro Football Talk