NFL suspends 5 players, including 4 Detroit Lions players for gambling

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By Shawn Stewart

Photo from Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The NFL announced that Four Detroit Lions players, including 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams, were among the five players leaguewide to be suspended for violating the NFL’s gambling policy after an investigation by the league.

Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus and safety C.J. Moore have been suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games, as was Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney.

They can reapply for reinstatement after one year, even thought Detroit announced that its two players have been released.

“As a result of an NFL investigation, it came to our attention that a few of our players had violated the league’s gambling policy,” Lions general manager Brad Holmes said in a statement. “These players exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules. We have made the decision to part ways with Quintez and C.J. immediately. We are disappointed by the decision making demonstrated by Stanley and Jameson and will work with both players to ensure they understand the severity of these violations and have clarity on the league rules moving forward.”

The differentiation between Cephus and Moore bet on NFL games, which is prohibited. It is unclear whether either bet on Lions games. Shaka Toney, of the Washington Commanders, was also suspended indefinitely, through at least the 2023 season. A league review showed no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.

Second-year wide receivers Williams and Stanley Berryhill are being suspended for six games each for mobile betting that occurred at the Lions’ Allen Park facility. These two did not bet on NFL games, the team said.

The NFL said that there is no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised by the players’ betting.

Williams, missed most of his rookie season while rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered in the College Football Playoff championship game with Alabama. On Thursday, Holmes noted the intent of the Williams selection was to have him ready to play a larger role the following season.

“Jameson Williams, obviously he was coming off his injury, I didn’t really care if he played last year,” Holmes said. “If he did, he did. I’m glad he did, but I was looking for this year. You’ve just got to take the best player, the best player that fits us, and that’s what we’ll do.”

Williams, who was recently in the building for the team’s first set of organized team activities, will be allowed to fully participate in the remainder of the offseason program, including the three preseason games. His suspension will begin at the start of the regular season, when he’ll be barred from the team’s practice facility for three weeks, half of length his suspension. He’ll then be allowed to rejoin the team for conditioning, strength training and meetings, but will continue be prohibited from practicing unless the league grants an exemption.

Upon the expiration of Williams and Berryhill’s suspensions, they would be immediately eligible to play in the team’s seventh regular-season game. Despite the disappointment with the actions that led to the suspension, a team source indicated the suspension isn’t expected to impact Williams’ long-term role with the team.

Williams’ representation, Alliance Sports, released a statement following the announcement of his suspension.

“Jameson takes full responsibility for his actions and is very apologetic to the NFL, his teammates and the fans and city of Detroit,” the statement read. “However, it is important to note that Jameson’s violation was not for betting on football, but rather due to a technical rule regarding the actual location in which the online bet was placed — and which would otherwise be allowed by the NFL outside of the club’s facility. Jameson would never intentionally jeopardize the integrity of the game he loves so much and looks forward to getting back to his team as soon as possible.”

A big-play machine with rare speed, Williams logged just 78 offensive snaps as a rookie. His lone catch was a 41-yard touchdown in a 34-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 14. He also had a 40-yard carry in Week 16 against the Chicago Bears, further highlighting his playmaking potential a year after he racked up 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns for Alabama in 2021.

“He’ll continue to develop, and can’t wait to get on the field with him,” quarterback Jared Goff said this week. “I can’t wait to get on the field with him and get to work with him and really dive into some stuff; get to work on plays, get to work on routes, without the consequence of in-game implications. Being able to work on things freely will be fun. He’s a tremendous talent. He could do so many amazing things for our offense, and excited to see where it goes.”

As for Detroit’s other suspended players, Cephus and Berryhill were considered fringe contenders for roster spots. A fourth-round draft pick in 2020, Cephus missed much of the past two seasons with injury and had slid to the bottom of the depth chart last season, seeing just three targets in the four games he was active. Berryhill also appeared in four games last season, primarily playing special teams.

The NFL’s gambling policy prohibits anyone in the NFL from engaging in any form of betting in any club or league facility or venue, including the practice facility.

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