Calvin Ridley has been suspended indefinitely, at least through the 2022 season, for violating the NFL's gambling policy, the league announced on Monday afternoon.
The league stated that Ridley bet on NFL games in the 2021 season, during a five-day stretch in late Nov. 2021, when he was away from the team on the reserve non-football illness list.
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The Falcons issued the following statement on the action taken against the receiver.
"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."
In its announcement, the league included what commissioner Rodger Goodell wrote in a letter notifying Ridley of his suspension:
"There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL's success - and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league - than upholding the integrity of the game. This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.
"For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions."
The league said an investigation found no evidence indicating inside information was used or that a game was compromised. The NFL also stated that there was no evidence to suggest any "awareness by coaches, staff, teammates or other players of his betting activity."
Ridley may apply for reinstatement to the league starting on Feb. 15, 2023. He also has a right to appeal the suspension.
Ridley played just five games for the Falcons in 2021. He stepped away from the team on Oct. 31, saying in a statement that he was doing so to work on his mental wellbeing. He did not return and was placed on the NFI list on Nov. 5.
Ridley, drafted No. 26 overall in 2018, has 248 receptions for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns over four seasons. The Falcons exercised his fifth-year option for the 2022 season last spring.