By Teresa M. Walker
The NFL suspended three players indefinitely Thursday for violating the league's gambling policy and a fourth was sidelined for six games.
Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry of the Indianapolis Colts along with free agent Demetrius Taylor received indefinite suspensions through at least this season for betting on NFL games in 2022. They won't be able to seek reinstatement until the 2023 season ends.
Tennessee Titans right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere was suspended for the first six games of the 2023 season for betting on non-NFL sports at the team's facility. He is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason activities, including preseason games.
“We believe in Nick and know that he has deep respect for the integrity of the game and our organization,” the Titans said in a statement. "We will continue to emphasize to our players the importance of understanding and adhering to league rules and policies.”
The NFL’s gambling policy bars players, coaches and league and team officials from betting on NFL games, placing bets at team facilities or team hotels or having someone else place a bet for them, among other restrictions.
Then-Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Rashod Berry cools off while taking a break during an NFL football practice, Saturday, July 30, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
With many states legalizing sports books specifically and gambling in general, leagues such as the NFL must increasingly contend with gambling infractions.
In April, the NFL suspended five players, four of them with the Detroit Lions, for gambling infractions.
The Lions released three players — receivers Quintez Cephus and Stanley Berryhill and safety C.J. Moore. Cephus and Moore were suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games while Berryhill and receiver Jameson Williams each drew six-game suspensions for betting on non-NFL games.
Williams, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2022 draft, remains on Detroit’s roster.
Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney also received an indefinite suspension in April for betting on NFL games, and in 2022 the NFL gave then-Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley a season-long suspension for betting. He was reinstated in March and now plays for Jacksonville.
Losing Rodgers is a big blow to a Colts secondary already under reconstruction. He was projected to be a starter this season, his fourth in the NFL, and the former UMass star was expected to add a veteran voice in a young position room.
Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers (34) looks on during an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. The NFL suspended three players indefinitely Thursday, June 29, 2023, for violating the league's gambling policy and a fourth was sidelined for six games. Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry of the Indianapolis Colts along with free agent Demetrius Taylor received indefinite suspensions through at least this season for betting on NFL games in 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
The loss of Petit-Frere even for six games hurts the Titans. He was the only starter returning from last year’s starting offensive line at the same position.
Petit-Frere released a statement to ESPN that he shared on social media and apologized to the Titans and his family. He also made clear his betting did not involve the NFL and was legal under Tennessee law.
“It is only being sanctioned because it occurred at the Titans facility ...," Petit-Frere said in his statement. "I have always strived in every stage of my life to follow the rules. Even after attending a league presentation, I was unaware about the specifics around placing bets from a team facility.”
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Petit-Frere was Tennessee’s third-round pick last year out of Ohio State, and he beat out Dillon Radunz for the starting job at right tackle. Petit-Frere started all 16 games as a rookie, helping block for the NFL’s second-leading rusher in Derrick Henry.
New general manager Ran Carthon rebuilt the offensive line this offseason, signing Andre Dillard from Philadelphia as hopefully the Titans’ new left tackle and Daniel Brunskill from the 49ers to be the right guard. He drafted Peter Skoronski with their first-round pick, and he’s likely starting at left guard.
Detroit Lions defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor works out during an NFL football practice in Allen Park, Mich., Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)