The NFL has imposed an indefinite suspension on Eyioma Uwazurike, defensive end for the Denver Broncos, following his involvement in betting on NFL games, as disclosed by the NFL on Monday.
The NFL revealed that Uwazurike partook in this gambling during the 2022 season. However, the league did not specify whether the games he bet on included those of the Broncos. Uwazurike cannot apply for a reinstatement until 2024, effectively ruling him out for the whole of the 2023 season at the very least.
Uwazurike, who is 25 years old, was enlisted by the Broncos in 2022 as a rookie, having been a fourth-round draft selection from Iowa State. He made appearances in eight games as a substitute, recording 17 tackles, a couple of quarterback hits, and a single pass defended. Uwazurike was slated to participate in the 2023 season, the second year of a four-year contract worth $4.4 million, with $765,000 guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus.
The gambling problem in the NFL continues to grow
Uwazurike becomes the 10th player to be handed a suspension by the NFL since April due to infringements of the league’s gambling policy.
Other players who have faced similar suspensions include Isaiah Rodgers (cornerback) and Rashod Berry (defensive end) from Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions’ Quintez Cephus (wide receiver), C.J. Moore (defensive back), Jameson Williams (wide receiver), Stanley Berryhill (wide receiver), Washington Commander’s Shaka Toney (defensive end), Tennessee Titan’s Nicholas Petit-Frere (offensive lineman), and free agent Demetrius Taylor (defensive end).
Calvin Ridley, formerly a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, also received a suspension for the 2022 season due to violating the league’s gambling policy. Ridley, now reinstated, will be playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the upcoming season after being traded from Atlanta.
Ridley‘s suspension was a first for the NFL in terms of gambling-related penalties, coming after the legalization of sports betting in 2018, endorsed by a Supreme Court ruling. While the NFL has integrated sports betting into its business model and partnered with various sports book agencies, it enforces strict limitations for players in its gambling policy, reserving the harshest punishments for those who wager on NFL games.