FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons linebacker Rashaan Evans and Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley were teammates at Alabama.
They never played together with the Falcons, but Evans was happy for Ridley, who was traded Tuesday to the Jaguars while he’s out of the NFL on a gambling suspension.
“Once you play with a guy at Alabama, he’s always a brother,” Evans said. “One of the things is (Bama) Psi Phi, that’s like our fraternity over at the University of Alabama. That’s for life. It’s always great to see someone have another opportunity like I had for me to be able to come here.”
Evans was drafted by the Titans with the 22nd pick of the 2018 NFL draft. Ridley went four picks later to the Falcons.
Evans became available after the Titans elected not to pick up his fifth-year option. He’s having a rebirth of his career with the Falcons this season and is the team’s leading tackler.
Ridley left the team last season to deal with his mental well-being. He was later suspended by the league for gambling on NFL games. He’ll have to apply for reinstatement in February.
“To see Calvin have that opportunity to be able to extend his career and be able to showcase his talents, that’s going to be a big thing for him,” Evans said. “I’m so happy for him because I know that he’s working really, really hard right now.”
Evans believes Ridley’s reinstatement will go smoothly.
“I know that he’s doing all of the things that he needs to do in order to be prepared and be ready,” Evans said. “It’s going to be fun seeing Calvin out there riling some guys up. It’s going to be fun again.”
Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson wore a “Free Ridley” shirt to the game Sunday.
“I wore a shirt and told them to free him, and then we traded him,” Patterson said. “That probably was on me. I probably shouldn’t have wore that shirt.”
Patterson hasn’t communicated with Ridley since the trade went down. He communicated with him before he wore his shirt.
“I know his phone is blowing up,” Patterson said. “When stuff like that happens, you have to give some time for things to settle down.
“We talk on social media. He knows the support I have for him. He knows how much I feel about him and all of my teammates and former teammates. I’m going to go out there and go to bat for him.”
Patterson wanted Ridley to get free to return to the Falcons.
“He’s one of the best in the league, if not the best,” Patterson said. “That’s just my opinion. We all have our opinion to speak freely. I just feel like he’s one of the best with what he brings to the offense. Jacksonville is lucky to have him.”
Ridley played with Falcons safety Jaylinn Hawkins for most of two seasons in 2020 and 2021.
“Calvin is a good dude, great teammate,” Hawkins said. “As soon as I came in, he was real cool with me. Best of luck to him.”
Falcons linebacker Mykal Walker also was a teammate for most of two seasons.
“The guys who have been here know Rid was an elite receiver,” Walker said. “Obviously, the guys that have been here and had a chance to see him play, it’s going to be a blow to us. We just have to keep going. We’ve got something good here, so let’s just keep it going.”
For more content about the Atlanta Falcons
On Facebook at Atlanta Falcons News Now
On Instagram at DorlandoLed
Atlanta Falcons coverage on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Bow Tie Chronicles
Atlanta Falcons 2022 schedule
Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26
Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27
Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23
Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20
Oct. 9 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15
Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14
Oct. 23 Bengals 35, Falcons 17
Oct. 30 Falcons 37, Panthers 34 OT
Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.
Nov. 10 at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.
Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.
Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD
Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.
Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD
About the Author