Detroit Lions receiver Jameson Williams said his six-game suspension this offseason for violating the NFL’s gambling policy was unexpected, but he is moving forward during his second NFL season.
“It hit me out of the blue, and it hit a couple of players on my team and around the league out of the blue,” Williams told reporters in Detroit on Thursday after an OTA practice.
“I was not aware of this situation. But as it happened, I took it on the chin. I was ready to move forward. As things went on, I got the consequences. That’s been my whole plan: moving forward from things and just looking at the better days.”
Williams and four other players were suspended in April for violating the NFL’s gambling policy. Fellow Lions receiver Stanley Berryhill also received a six-game suspension. Quintez Cephus and CJ Moore were both released by the Lions after being suspended indefinitely, for at least the 2023 season. Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney was also suspended indefinitely and will miss at least 2023.
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Calvin Ridley, a receiver with the Jacksonville Jaguars, will return this season after a one-year suspension for gambling.
Williams missed the first 11 games of his rookie season while recovering from an ACL injury suffered during the 2021 national championship game. He must wait until Week 7 of 2023 to play again. His return would come Oct. 22 on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.
For now, Williams is making most of his offseason workouts with teammates.
“The suspension is pretty much what it is. I broke a policy. … I’m just happy to be out here and get this time with my guys I didn’t get a chance to do last year,” Williams said.
Williams, the no. 12 pick in the 2022 NFL draft out of Alabama, added he did not attempt to appeal the suspension.
“I just left it alone. They gave me six games and we left it at that. I’m just looking forward to coming back Week 7, getting back with my team out there and playing a game.”
He believes NFL players around the league are becoming more conscious and knowledgeable about the repercussions of placing sports bets following recent suspensions handed down to violators.
“Just make the right decisions,” Williams said of his lesson learned. “It was something I wasn’t aware of, but it caught me.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lions’ suspended WR Jameson Williams ‘wasn’t aware’ of gambling rules