Five NFL players were suspended over the weekend for violating The League’s gambling policy, according to multiple reports. Four of the five players named were members of the Detroit Lions roster.
Lions safety C.J. Moore and wide receiver Quitez Cephus, along with Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney, are suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games. All three will be eligible to can petition for reinstatement after the 2023 season.
The other two players involved were Detroit Lions wideouts Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill, who each sit out the first six regular season games of the 2023 campaign. However, the two players will be allowed to participate in workouts and team activities during that span.
The Lions then announced that they had released both Cephus and Moore. The other two players remain on the roster.
The news about Williams is especially troubling, as the Detroit Lions were counting on him to team with their elite pass catcher Amon-Ra St. Brown in the upcoming year. After a disappointing rookie season, the former Heisman Trophy winner was being looked at as a potential breakout star.
Under Coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes, the team has emerged as one of the most improved squads in the NFL and will be looking to make a playoff push.
Williams was supposed to be a part of that push. After being selected with the 12th overall pick out of Alabama in 2022, the mercurial star has been hard to figure out. He’s shown flashes of brilliance but a major injury – and now this suspension – will have stunted his growth in the pros thus far.
After suffering a torn ACL late in his college career, the Detroit Lions would finally activate Jameson Williams in week 13. And while he didn’t play poorly, his lack of time on the field was likely one of the factors that kept the Lions from missing the playoffs by one win.
As of now, even if Williams plays out the rest of 2023 without further incident, he will still have missed 17 of the first 34 games in his NFL career. That’s a scary proposition for a franchise that has selected several high-profile college receivers in the past, only to see them become busts.
While the team is certainly not ready to give up on their premier pick, it’s clear this is a huge setback for him and the team. The Lion’s official statement reads as follows:
“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. 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 Detroit Lions could look for potential insurance at the wide receiver position in this week’s NFL Draft.
They currently possess both the 6th and the 19th selections in the first round.