The 2022 NFL season hasn't even started but the Atlanta Falcons have already received bad news for the new campaign. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for at least the 2022 season, which means he'll continue on the sidelines for a long time.

Ridley stepped away from football in October last year citing mental health issues. "These past few weeks have been very challenging and as much as I'd like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing," he announced on Twitter.

It's been months since that happened but, even if he planned to be back this year, it won't happen. Here, find out why the National Football League has suspended Ridley at least for this season.

Why did the NFL suspend Calvin Ridley?

The NFL has announced that Calvin Ridley is suspended for the 2022 season and maybe beyond for betting on NFL games in 2021 after he left the team. According to the release, Ridley did the activity in late November when he was not with the team anymore and away from the Falcons' facility.

"NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today suspended Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons indefinitely through at least the conclusion of the 2022 season for betting on NFL games in the 2021 season," a league statement read. "The activity took place during a five-day period in late November 2021 while Ridley was not with the team and was away from the club's facility on the non-football illness list."

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL noticed that Calvin Ridley placed multi-legged parlay bets involving three, five, and eight games that included the Falcons to win but with no involvement from any team member. "A league investigation uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way," the statement continued. "Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by coaches, staff, teammates, or other players of his betting activity."

The statement adds that Calvin Ridley may petition for reinstatement to the NFL no sooner than February 15, 2023. In line with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he may appeal the suspension within three days.

Meanwhile, the Falcons have also released a statement shortly after the NFL's announcement. "We were first made aware of the league's investigation on Feb. 9," the Falcons statement reads. "We have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and support the league's findings and actions. We are moving forward in the 2022 season with the decision that was made. With the decision that was made by the NFL, any further questions on the investigation should be directed to the league office."

Calvin Ridley reacts to the NFL suspension

Shortly after the news were spread all over the Internet, Calvin Ridley took to his Twitter profile to respond to the NFL's decision with a series of tweets. Here's what he had to say:

Teams showed interested in trading for Ridley before the suspension

Adam Schefter also reported that many teams around the league have approached the Falcons to discuss the possibility of trading for the wide receiver but Atlanta rejected to have any talks knowing the issues Ridley could be involved in.

"Multiple NFL teams reached out to the Falcons in recent weeks to inquire about trading for Calvin Ridley, and each time, Atlanta declined to enter into any talks out of good faith, knowing the issues in store for their standout wide receiver, per sources."

How many NFL players were suspended for gambling?

Calvin Ridley was not the first player the NFL has suspended for betting on games. As a matter of fact, he's the fifth case. Prior to him, the NFL has suspended Alex Karras and Paul Hornung  in 1963, Art Schlichter in 1983, and Josh Shaw in 2019.