The Detroit Lions had four players penalized by the NFL for violating the NFL gambling policy. Safety C.J. Moore and wide receiver Quintez Cephus were suspended indefinitely and subsequently released by the Lions for betting on NFL games.
Wide receivers Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill have been suspended six games by the league for betting from an NFL facility on non-NFL games. Both Berryhill and Williams can participate in offseason and preseason activities leading up to their suspension, which will begin on the final roster cut down date.
"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 released by the team. "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."
Losing Williams for the first month and a half of the season is obviously a big blow for the Lions. The No. 12 overall pick out of Alabama last year is expected to play a big role in Detroit's offense in his second season after missing most of his rookie year rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in college.
We got a glimpse of Williams' explosiveness when he played in the final six games for the Lions last season. His first and only catch of the year was a 41-yard touchdown against the Vikings Week 14. He also had a 40-yard rush that set up a touchdown Week 17 vs. Chicago. Defenses had to play the Lions a little different and respect his speed when he was on the field.
Williams' suspension puts Holmes and the Lions in a position where they could look to add to the wide receiver unit this offseason to give them more depth to go along with veterans Amon-Ra St. Brown, Marvin Jones Jr., Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond. The team also has Maurice Alexander, Trinity Benson and Tom Kennedy on the roster.
St. Brown, Jones, Reynolds and Raymond are a solid veteran four, but with Detroit expected to compete for the NFC North title and at the very least a spot in the playoffs, adding another receiver via next week's NFL Draft could become a bigger priority.
It's not as strong a wide receiver class as we've seen in recent drafts, but there were five players that ran a sub-4.4 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine (Trey Palmer, Derius Davis, Matt Landers, Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Marvin Mims Jr.) and 22 receivers total who ran sub-4.5 in the 40 if Holmes and the Lions look to add some more speed to the group to help stem the loss of Williams to begin the year.