Wide receiver Calvin Ridley eager to prove his work ethic with the Titans

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Calvin Ridley had a message Friday for anyone worried the Tennessee Titans overpaid for him or that the wide receiver who missed essentially two NFL seasons won’t live up to his new four-year, $92 million deal.

“I’m a good player. I’m the type of player who deserves this contract,” Ridley said. “I’m going to say that. I’m a player that you want in the building, someone who’s going to work for your organization, who all their life as a kid, I rode city buses to high school just to go to school.”

Ridley spent 2023 in the same division as the Titans playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had 76 catches for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns, and he was really good against Tennessee.

He caught seven passes for 103 yards and two TDs in a rout in Jacksonville. He then had six receptions for 106 yards and a TD in a 28-20 loss in the regular-season finale in Nashville.

The Jaguars acquired him from Atlanta in November 2022 while he was suspended for the 2022 season for violating the NFL’s gambling policy.

That suspension came on the heels of the 2018 first-round pick out of Alabama sitting out the final two months of the 2021 season, an absence he explained in a social media post that read, “I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental well being.”

Now with his third different NFL team, Ridley said he knows he can put up better numbers. He also said there were things in Jacksonville that made him “uncomfortable” and played a part in him not signing a new deal with the Jaguars.

He also took the chance to share his side.

“I’m not proud of that at all. I wish I could just throw it away, but that’s what I have. That’s what I had,” Ridley said.

He noted that two seasons out, he not only gave Jacksonville a 1,000-yard season and eight TDs but didn't miss a practice or game.

“I didn’t come late to nothing. I respected them and everybody in the building,” Ridley said. "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."

Ridley reiterated that his work ethic is strong and he plans on “only going up."

"I’m ready to take off,” he said.

Ridley also said he plays and feels younger than his age.

“I’m 29 on paper, but I’m probably like 25 for real to be honest with you,” Ridley said.

Ridley also is looking forward to teaming up with three-time All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins to form a nice receiving tandem for Will Levis going into the quarterback's second NFL season.

“I know D-Hop. I train with him all the time. 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 said.

As for Levis, Ridley said he is eager to work with the 33rd overall pick last April.

“What I’m most excited about is that he’s 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.

Ridley also knows the Titans' new offensive coordinator in Nick Holz, who had been the passing game coordinator in Jacksonville.

“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," Ridley said. "I’m excited that he’s young and probably willing to learn, but I’m older and willing to learn too.”

NOTES: The Titans released OT Andre Dillard on Friday among a handful of roster moves. Tennessee signed Dillard, the 22nd pick overall by Philadelphia in 2019, to a three-year deal in free agency a year ago. He wound up starting 10 of 16 games played, losing the starting left tackle job. ... They also signed OL Saahdiq Charles and WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and confirmed their deal with QB Mason Rudolph.


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