Calvin Ridley is back.
The fifth-year wide receiver was one of the NFL's rising stars when a gambling suspension cost him an entire season. Now after a season-plus away from the game because of the ban and an injury, he's back as a 28-year-old veteran with the Jacksonville Jaguars. And he picked up where he left off.
Ridley was Trevor Lawrence's favorite target early and often on Sunday, tallying four first-quarter catches for 41 yards against the Indianapolis Colts. His fourth catch was Jacksonville's first touchdown of the season.
With the game in a scoreless tie late in the first quarter, the Jaguars faced third-and-8 at the Colts' 10-yard line. Lawrence took a shotgun snap and couldn't find an open receiver going through his initial progression. He scrambled and rolled out to his left away from the Colts' pass rush to find Ridley standing by himself on the back baseline in the end zone. He launched a strike from the 20-yard line that Ridley hauled in for his first touchdown with his new team.
He finished the day with eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown as Jacksonville's clear No. 1 receiver The Jaguars went on to a 31-21 victory. Zay Jones was Jacksonville's second-leading receiver with five catches for 55 yards as Lawrence totaled 241 yards and two touchdowns in the air.
The Jaguars traded for Ridley with a package of draft picks at last season's deadline knowing that he wasn't available to play in 2022 — an indicator that they believed he could be an integral part of a rising young offense helmed by Lawrence. He and Lawrence are off to a great start together.