Cowboys DC, ex-Falcons coach Dan Quinn proud of Calvin Ridley for taking mental health break

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Former Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn made sure to call Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley after helping lead the Dallas Cowboys to a wild win on Sunday night over the Minnesota Vikings.

After Ridley announced he was stepping away from football indefinitely to focus on his mental health, Quinn wanted to make sure he was OK.

“Oftentimes, there are issues that come up that need some extra time and space,” Quinn said, via USA Today. “I’m proud for Calvin that this is the time to, ‘Hey, I’ve got to make some adjustments and find some help to do that.’ I’m certainly proud of him for doing that.”

Ridley was made inactive before the Falcons' 19-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday due to what the team initially called a “personal matter.” It’s the second game this season Ridley has missed a game for that reason, following his absence in their Week 5 win over the New York Jets in London.

Ridley then took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon.

“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 wrote. “This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future.”

Ridley is in his fourth season in the league with the Falcons, and he’s coming off a career-best year where he put up 1,374 yards with nine touchdowns.

Quinn was hired as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator after he was fired by the Falcons midway through last season, which ended a six-year stint leading the organization.

Quinn said Monday that he was very proud of Ridley and other athletes — including Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst, who is a suicide survivor — who speak up when they have mental health struggles.

“Mental health issues, it’s hard to read,” Quinn said, via USA Today. “You can see when someone sprains their ankle, but you can’t tell oftentimes when someone’s hurting on the inside. So having the courage to speak up and do that for guys like Dak and others who have done that around the league, or tight end Hayden Hurst, and now Cal, I certainly admire them. Because by doing that, it may just point out the one person who needs that kind of help.

“A younger person looking up to [him] like, ‘Hey, if it’s OK for Calvin to speak out and get help, I’m going to go and talk to somebody, too.'”

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