The two Colts to receive indefinite suspensions for violating the NFL’s gambling policy are no longer with the team. Indianapolis waived cornerback Isaiah Rodgers and defensive end Rashod Berry on Thursday.
Both were found to have bet on NFL games; as a result, each player is banned for the entire 2023 season. Rodgers and Berry cannot return to the league without being reinstated, with 2024 representing the earliest reinstatement window.
While Berry only joined the Colts after being added off the Jaguars’ practice squad in January, Rodgers has been a key contributor on the team throughout his career. Indianapolis’ primary kick returner over the past three seasons, Rodgers also started nine games at corner in 2022. The Colts were planning to make Rodgers a key part of their 2023 secondary as well.
“We have made the following roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league’s gambling policy,” Colts GM Chris Ballard said. “The integrity of the game is of the utmost importance. As an organization we will continue to educate our players, coaches, and staff on the policies in place and the significant consequences that may occur with violations.”
A 2020 sixth-round pick, Rodgers is believed to have made “hundreds” of wagers; some of those were reportedly bets on Colts games. Rodgers, 25, was tied to a $2.7MM base salary this season. This suspension not only will cost the UMass alum that money; it threatens his career. Rodgers working as a starter for a second straight season would have put him on the radar for a notable free agency payday in 2024 — or possibly a Colts extension — but he is now in NFL limbo.
Unaware of this investigation until recently, the Colts had already made big-picture decisions at cornerback this offseason. They traded Stephon Gilmore to the Cowboys in March and let part-time 2022 starter Brandon Facyson walk in free agency. Facyson, who competed with Rodgers for the boundary job opposite Gilmore during training camp last year, started four games in 2022. He has since rejoined the Raiders.
Although Rodgers is a 5-foot-10 cover man out of the Division I-FCS level, this is a notable loss for Indianapolis. Pro Football Focus ranked Rodgers as the fifth-best cornerback during the 2022 season. This assessment came on just 283 defensive snaps, but Rodgers had shown promise in limited duty. The 170-pound defender intercepted three passes in 2021 and recovered four fumbles last season. He also returned a kick for a score in 2020.
The Colts did use a second-round pick on Kansas State corner Julius Brents, and standout slot defender Kenny Moore remains with the team. Indianapolis also used fifth- and seventh-round picks on corners (Darius Rush, Jaylon Jones) but may need to add a veteran to replace Rodgers.
While the Lions have cut four of the five players on their roster who received gambling suspensions, Rodgers is the most notable player to be cut because of a gambling suspension. Jameson Williams, who received a six-game ban for betting on non-NFL games on team grounds, remains with the Lions. The Titans are not moving on from starting right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, who was also handed a six-game suspension. Shaka Toney remains with the Commanders, though he is the only player thus far to receive an indefinite suspension and not be cut.
Both a tight end and defensive end at Ohio State, Berry played in eight games — with the Patriots and Lions — between the 2020 and ’21 seasons. While the Lions connection is notable given their lead role in 2023’s NFL gambling saga, Berry spent much of the 2022 season on the Jags’ practice squad. Detroit waived Berry in May 2022; the NFL investigation indicated Berry, Rodgers and free agent Demetrius Taylor bet on NFL games during the ’22 season.