Falcons top WR Ridley to miss Jets game for personal reasons

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Falcons leading receiver Calvin Ridley will not play in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets in London for personal reasons.

After Ridley was not present for Thursday’s practice, the Falcons announced Ridley would not accompany the team to London “due to a personal matter.”

“We are in support of Calvin during this time and will respect his privacy on the matter,” the team said in a statement.

The Falcons will be limited at the position as Russell Gage will miss another game with an ankle injury.

Ridley leads Atlanta with 27 catches for 255 yards. He has only one touchdown reception.

Ridley had seven catches for 80 yards, but had two drops in last week’s 34-30 loss to Washington. On Monday, coach Arthur Smith described Ridley’s performance as “up and down.”

“We expect more and Calvin knows that,” Smith said. “I’m not telling anything that I don’t tell the players. He’s one of our top guys. He’s one of our captains. Nobody’s got higher expectations than he does for himself than we do so that’s why I call his number. I believe in Calvin but like all of us, we can all play better.”

Ridley was expected to lead the wide receivers following the trade of Julio Jones to Tennessee. Ridley leads the team with 42 targets.

Ridley set career highs with 90 catches for 1,374 yards in 2020. He had nine TD receptions.

The sudden depth problem at wide receiver could create more opportunities for running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who had three touchdown catches against Washington.

It also could create more chances for rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who has 15 catches for 189 yards but is still looking for his first touchdown reception.

Options to move up at wide receiver include Olamide Zaccheaus, Christian Blake, Tajae Sharpe and Frank Darby.

Defensive tackle Marlon Davidson also will be held out with an ankle injury.

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