NFL Reinstates Washington Commanders’ Shaka Toney and Four Free Agents

  • League reinstated Toney, C.J. Moore, Quintez Cephus, Demetrius Taylor, Rashod Berry
  • NFL didn’t reinstate Colts’ Isiah Rodgers, who bet on franchise’s games while a player
  • The NFL franchises can sign Cephus, Moore, Taylor, Berry to play in the 2024-25 season
NFL ball
The NFL has reinstated the Washington Commanders’ Shaka Toney and four other free agents after their 2023 sports betting suspension. [Image:]

Five reinstated

Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney and four other players suspended in 2023 for sports betting have a lifeline back into the NFL. The body has decided to reinstate all five players.

the five can return to the field when the 2024-2025 NFL season starts

ESPN reported on Thursday that the five can return to the field when the 2024-2025 NFL season starts September 5. ESPN Senior and NFL insider Adam Scheffler took to X to share the reinstatements of Toney and free agents C.J. Moore, Quintez Cephus, Demetrius Taylor, and Rashod Berry:

In 2023, the NFL suspended indefinitely Toney, wide receiver Cephus, and safety Moore for placing bets on the major league’s games during the 2022-2023 season.

Likewise, the NFL suspended defensive ends Berry and Taylor last year for committing the same sports betting infractions. The NFL allowed all five suspended players the right to apply for reinstatement on the completion of the 2023-2024 season.

Back in the game

While Washington stood by Toney, a 2021 seventh-round pick with 1.5 sacks for the franchise in two seasons, the Detroit Lions and the Indianapolis Colts took a hard line.

Following the NFL’s announcement of the suspensions in April 2023, the Lions acted swiftly to release Moore and Cephus having been aware of the league’s betting probe for almost a month prior. Similarly, the Indianapolis Colts released both Berry and defensive back Isiah Rodgers minutes after the NFL suspension was made public.

On the Lions’ decision to jettison the pair, General Manager Brad Holmes said they: “exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values.”

Rodgers, however, who the NFL also suspended “for at least the 2023 season,” wasn’t reinstated by the league body. Insider Scheffler stated Thursday that Rodgers’ case remains under review.

A reason insiders put forward for Rodgers exclusion comes out of the NFL’s amended gambling policy in 2023. The harsher of the amends was a ruling that if a player bets on NFL games involving his team, the body would dish out a penalty of a minimum two-year suspension.

placed the bets online on behalf of people he knew living in Florida 

Rodgers allegedly wagered on Colts games while still active on the franchise’s roster. In an interview with ESPN in February, Rodgers said he placed the bets online on behalf of people he knew living in Florida where the vertical was, at the time, still illegal.  

What next?

Despite the Colts cutting him, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Rodgers, so the NFC East division franchise holds his rights if, or when, the NFL allows the defensive back to run out on the gridiron again.

While Toney can resurrect his career under the Commanders, free agents Cephus, Moore, Taylor, and Berry will hope to catch the eye of NFL franchises ahead of the 2024-25 season kick off.

For the Lions, Cephus’ stats stand at 60 catches for 568 yards and four touchdowns over his three seasons with the Detroit team, while Moore played in 56 games for the franchise from 2019-22.

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