Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said Tuesday there is no update on the status of star receiver Calvin Ridley, who missed the final 11 games of the season while taking time off to address his mental health issues.
"It really hasn't changed," Fontenot said in his first offseason news conference, per the Associated Press. "As an organization, we've done the best job we could just to support Calvin and do everything we can for him."
Ridley played in the first four games of the season before missing a contest for what the team termed personal reasons. He returned to play in Week 7. Following the match (a win in Miami in which the WR had four catches for 26 yards and a TD), Ridley released a statement saying he was stepping away to focus on his mental health.
Fontenot said he's not planning one way or the other on Ridley returning in 2022.
"No, I wouldn't assume anything," Fontenot said when asked if that means the Falcons must plan to be without Ridley next season. "Like I said, we handle each situation individually. There are so many variables we deal with. We're going to try to add to every position this offseason."
Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Russell Gage helped fill the void, but the Falcons offense was sorely missing a field-tilting weapon like Ridley. The former first-round pick had a breakout campaign in 2020, netting 1,374 yards and 9 TDs on 90 catches.
Mental health isn't like a hamstring pull or knee injury. There is no timetable for a return. The best the Falcons can do is support Ridley wherever he needs. The football part will be secondary.
For a team-builder like Fontenot, he must prepare for Ridley to miss more time if needed.
"Whatever player we're talking about, whether under contract or not under contract," he said, "we have to be prepared for everything."