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Calvin Ridley's NFL Resurrection Continues in Tennessee; Titans Are Banking $92 Million on It

Calvin Ridley is perhaps the most significant new piece in the Titans rebuild under second-year general manager Ran Carthon and first-year coach Brian Callahan. The Titans will enter the 2024 season with a 1,000-yard rusher (Tony Pollard) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins).
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NASHVILLE — Calvin Ridley, who has experienced great highs and difficult lows in his football life, on Friday expressed his appreciation that the Tennessee Titans are banking four years and $92 million on his success. He promised that he would be worth the investment.  

Speaking for the first time as a Titan less than two hours after the team officially announced Ridley's signing, the former Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver didn't hold back from expressing belief in his capabilities. 

"I'm a good player. I'm the type of player who deserves this contract," Ridley said during his introductory press conference. "I'm the type of player you want in the building. Someone who is going to work for the organization. ... Y'all got a player that is going to work for whatever y'all gave me."

Last season, after missing nearly two seasons of football, Ridley resurrected his career with 1,016 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

Now he is perhaps the most significant new piece in the Titans rebuild under second-year general manager Ran Carthon and first-year coach Brian Callahan. 

The Titans will enter the 2024 season with a 1,000-yard rusher (Tony Pollard) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins). Add new center Lloyd Cushenberry and new guard Saahiq Charles, plus the offensive tackle who likely will arrive via the NFL Draft, and the Titans offense will look dramatically different.

With Brian Callahan calling the plays and second-year quarterback Will Levis firmly in charge, the expectations are rising for a passing offense that ranked 29th in the league.

Ridley looked forward to the new partnership. 

“What I’m most excited about is that (Levis) is young, and I’m a vet, and I feel like when you’re in that role, it’ll be a little more easier for me to talk to him and communicate with him,” Ridley said. “Obviously, you have an offensive coordinator and a quarterbacks coach, but I’ve played this game for a long time and know how to get open and put us in some good situations. I’m excited that he’s young and probably willing to learn, but I’m older and willing to learn, too.”

The signing of a four-year deal, with $50 million guaranteed, is the culmination of a journey of ups and downs and up again for Ridley:

  • All-American at Alabama;
  • First-round pick to Falcons, 2018;
  • Second team All-Pro, 2020;
  • Combination of a foot injury and mental health issues led to a leave of absence after five games, 2021;
  • Suspended for the 2022 season for violating the NFL's gambling policy;
  • 1,000-yard receiver for Jaguars; and
  • Free-agent contract with Titans.

Ridley credited his family for helping him get through the dark times while he was away from the game. 

"I learned a lot about myself and how much my family matters," Ridley said. "I fell in love with the game even more when I was away from it. I'm very thankful to be here."

Ridley admitted that he wanted to stay with the Jags, but the Titans moved quickly with a better offer.

“I really wanted to, honestly, be with the Jags,” Ridley said. “But there was a lot of things that wasn’t working out for me. I think the Titans had the other side for me, so I chose the Titans. And obviously the money was pretty good so I went with that.”

Ridley and Hopkins already have a relationship.

“I know D-Hop. I train with him all the time," Ridley said. "I can learn a lot from him. He’s been really consistent his whole career. His catching, his routes, and just his mentality to be a dog, a really high-caliber type of player.”

Ridley is ready to pay off the Titans' commitment.

"Two seasons out, I gave them (the Jaguars) 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns," Ridley said. "I didn’t miss a practice. I didn’t miss a game. I didn’t come late to nothing. I respected them and everybody in the building. I look at it as a win for me personally, when I have to think about it like that. If I don’t, I’m going to think I’m a failure when I did pretty decent with two years off, I did pretty decent. I look at it as that.

"I'm 29 on paper, 25 for real. Y'all gonna see. I can run all day."

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