INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NFL suspended three players indefinitely Thursday for violating the league’s gambling policy and a fourth was sidelined for six games.
Cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr., a projected starter for the Indianapolis Colts, and his new teammate Rashod Berry, a backup defensive end, both received indefinite suspensions and were subsequently waived by the team.
Rodgers, Berry and free agent Demetrius Taylor, who also received an indefinite suspension, cannot seek reinstatement until after the 2023 season. Taylor bet on NFL games in 2022 and Rodgers faced the same accusation.
The Colts wasted no time in deciding what to do.
“We have made the following roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league’s gambling policy,” Indy general manager Chris Ballard said in a statement. “The integrity of the game is of the utmost importance. As an organization we will continue to educate our players, coaches, and staff on the policies in place and the significant consequences that may occur with violations.”
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.
Petit-Frere and Berry were college teammates at Ohio State.
“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.
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. The fourth-year player from UMass was expected to add a veteran voice in a young position room.
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.
Berry spent most of last season on the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad after being signed by the New England Patriots as an undrafted rookie in 2020. Indy put Berry on its active roster on Jan. 4.