Can Calvin Ridley Bounce Back After Gambling Suspension?

Can Calvin Ridley Bounce Back After Gambling Suspension?
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Earlier this week, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley wrote a letter on The Players’ Tribune, telling Jags fans he would deliver them 1,400 yards a season, a jolt that would certainly help the Jaguars playoff chances.

Trevor Lawrence is the Jags quarterback, and Ridley has been an All-Pro, but he hasn’t played much football the past two seasons, just five games, mostly due to the fact he was suspended indefinitely for gambling on NFL games. Injuries and depression have been other issues. He didn’t play a game in 2022, and has yet to play for the Jags. 

But he was reinstated by the league March 6 and will surely factor into the Jaguars playoff chances in 2023 after the team surprisingly won the AFC South last season. 

The big question is, can Ridley bounce back? The 6-foot-1, 190 pounder had 90 catches and 1,374 yards, for a 15.3-yard average, and nine touchdowns for the Atlanta Falcons in 2020, his last full year. Ridley was one of the top producing receivers in the league over his first three seasons. In those five games in 2021, he had 31 catches, 281 yards, a 9.1-yard average and two touchdowns, also for Atlanta.

Lawrence is fast evolving into an elite quarterback – ninth in the NFL in passing last season, at 4,113 yards, a 66.3% completion average and 25 touchdowns. Ridley also pairs up with Zay Jones to give Lawrence two legit deep field threats.

With Ridley in mind, utilized Pro Football Reference to compile the statistics and achievements of NFL players who were suspended during their career for gambling-related activities.

Here’s what we came up with. 

Paul Hornung

Hornung played from 1957 to 1966, but was suspended in 1963 for a full-season for gambling. While his rushing yards per game average dropped, his receiving statistics actually increased after returning and 29% of his total career TDs came in those last three years. 

Hornung still ended up winning two Super Bowls with the Green Bay Packers and made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Alex Karras

Karras played from 1958 to 1970, but was also suspended in 1963 for a full-season for gambling. Most of Karras’ sacks (68.5%) came after his suspension and he set a career-high in sacks in 1965 with 15. Karras was a top six candidate for AP MVP in 1969, and made a Pro Bowl and All-Pro Team in 1965. He would also end up making the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

We shall see of course, but this still bodes well for Ridley and the Jags this upcoming season, especially if Ridley is as serious as his words.

Keep it here for more Jaguars coverage, and we also have dedicated pages to the Dolphins playoff chances as well.



Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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