The Colts cut players after game suspensions due to “integrity of the game”; how their departures impact Indy

Colts veterans Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry not only earned full-season suspensions by violating the NFL’s gambling policy; they also lost their jobs, with Indianapolis releasing both players on Thursday. Explaining the decision to cut ties, Colts general manager Chris Ballard said the team unequivocally stands for “the integrity of the game.”

“We… We made the roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league’s betting policy.” Ballard said in a team statement. “The integrity of the game is of paramount importance. As an organization, we will continue to educate our players, coaches and staff about the policies in place and the significant consequences that can occur with violations.”

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Not everyone named in the latest wave of NFL game-related discipline received indefinite bans, as Berry and Rodgers did. Titans offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere was suspended six games for betting on non-NFL sports while on his team’s premises. However, Rodgers, in particular, would have participated in NFL betting, even on his own team.

So what does the departure of Berry and Rodgers mean for the Colts from a football standpoint?

Like former Lions players Quintez Cephus, Stanley Berryhill III and CJ Moore, who were released following their indefinite suspensions earlier this offseason, the two Colts veterans fired for gambling were strictly reserved. But Rodgers was far from a secondary factor in his lineup.

Berry, who was not drafted in 2020 out of Ohio State, just joined the Colts through the Jaguars’ practice squad in January. He entered with just eight games of NFL experience and was expected to compete for a backup linebacker spot this summer. In particular, his departure will reduce the depth behind MLB starter Shaquille Leonard, who is recovering from injury.

Rodgers’ absence seems to be felt more, as the 2020 sixth-round pick served as the Colts’ top kick returner for the past three years. He totaled 704 yards back in an explosive rookie campaign when he averaged nearly 29 yards per running back kick and also scored a touchdown. His return average fell to 25.1 in 2022, but he also saw more time on defense, making nine starts and recovering four fumbles as a cornerback. He also had three interceptions and seven deflected passes the previous year.

Former Pittsburg State cornerback Dallis Flowers, an undrafted rookie, could slide into the full-time return spot after several extended returns in his first season, including an 89-yard touchdown. The Colts also have former Bills veteran Isaiah McKenzie, a seasoned evolutionist, on the roster; He believes he has a better chance of making the final list and winning an important role.

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