FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Calvin Ridley’s smile as he addressed the media for the first time during camp was as big as it was when he first arrived at the Falcons’ facility the day after being drafted.
Four days into camp, Ridley is still soaking it all in.
Ridley’s face lit up when answering questions about his relationship with Julio Jones. The two former Alabama wide receivers spent some time together working out before Ridley was drafted by the Falcons in Tuscaloosa this offseason, but this is the first time they’ve been able to take the field together.
And it’s been everything Ridley could have hoped for.
“It’s been amazing,” Ridley said. “[Everyone] knows Julio is really good. But people don’t really know how good he really is. He’s so detailed. He knows everything … he’s like a coach. He coaches me on everything. Even if I do it right, he’s still going to coach me. It’s like having another coach on the field. He’s watching everything.”
Ridley has been getting a significant amount of reps with quarterback Matt Ryan during practices. The two were paired together on the same team when the Falcons held an intra-squad scrimmage on Monday.
Ryan has been impressed with what he’s seen from the rookie receiver so far.
“He’s a talented player,” Ryan said of Ridley following Sunday’s practice. “He can do a lot of different things. Certainly through the offseason and the first couple of days at camp, he’s showcased his talent level. I see him having a really good year for us and fitting in really well with the receiving corps we have.”
One of the things Ridley is praised for most by his peers and coaches is his work ethic.
Ridley was asked where his drive comes from and his answer was simple … and humorous.
“I feel like I [have] a lot of energy,” Ridley said. “I feel like I can’t just sit down. I always want to go do something. We’ll get out of the meeting and I’ll go in the weight room and do some curls or something real quick. I don’t know, I just feel like I need to move, I don’t like to sit down.”
While it’s still way too early to tell what exactly Ridley’s role will be in the offense, one thing is certain – the Falcons have a player who not only has the talent to be an impact player, he has the motivation as well.