Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams is expected to play against the Carolina Panthers on October 9 following his suspension.
The NFL suspended Williams for six games after the 22-year-old violated the league’s sports gambling policy. Williams was set to return to the field in Week 7, two weeks later. Fellow Lions Stanley Berryhill also faced a similar penalty.
“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,” said Lions general manager Brad Holmes after the suspension announcement.
On Friday, the NFL and NFLPA revised the league’s policy regarding gambling. Under the new regulation, players who bet on NFL games will receive a one-year suspension. If their bets involve their own teams, the suspension extends to two years. Meanwhile, game-fixing will result in a lifetime ban from the league.
While the new rule applies harsher penalties on NFL-related gambling, the NFL and NFLPA agreed on a two-game suspension for non-NFL-based violations. As the league had confirmed that Williams bet on non-NFL games, he saw a penalty reduction.
Analysts note that the league’s gambling policy violations have been rare recently. Last year, the NFL suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for the entire season but later reinstated him. Before that, the league penalized Arizona Cardinals cornerback Josh Shaw for gambling on NFL games. Shaw has not played in the NFL since his suspension.
Detroit has prepared Williams to play a bigger role in its offense this season because of the lack of WR depth in the team. Sources said Williams is the Lions’ main WR2 this season behind headliner Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Analysts describe Williams’ playing style as “explosive” and critical for the Lions as he can set the pace for the game. He worked out with several teammates, including quarterback Jared Goff, in the offseason in California.
Last season, Williams missed the first 11 games after sustaining a torn ACL. In his six appearances last year, he added up to 78 total offensive snaps. He also recorded one catch for 41 yards and a touchdown in the previous season.
Williams could return to Detroits’ Allen Park facility after serving half his suspension. However, he could only start taking part in practice once his suspension had been concluded.
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