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Broncos' Eyioma Uwazurike suspended indefinitely for gambling

Former 2022 draft pick figured to play as reserve this season
Eyioma Uwazurike
Posted at 4:16 PM, Jul 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-24 19:36:31-04

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike showed potential as a rookie and even more promise during offseason workouts a few months ago. Now, his NFL dreams are on hold, and his future with the Denver Broncos uncertain after the NFL suspended Uwazurike indefinitely for violating the league's gambling policy.

The league confirmed Monday that Uwazurike bet on NFL games during the 2022 season, his rookie year after a stellar career at Iowa State.

The Broncos issued a statement following the league's announcement.

“We were informed by the NFL today that Eyioma Uwazurike has been suspended by the league indefinitely for violating its gambling policy. Our organization fully cooperated with this investigation and takes matters pertaining to the integrity of the game very seriously.

“The Denver Broncos will continue to provide all members of our organization with the necessary education, resources and support to ensure compliance with the NFL’s Gambling Policy.”

Uwazurike is not eligible to apply for reinstatement until July 24, 2024, at the earliest.

The NFL forbids players, coaches, team officials and all league personnel from betting on NFL games, placing bets at team facilities or team hotels or having someone else place a bet for them.

Jeff Miller, the NFL executive president of communications/public affairs and policy, explained last month that players are permitted to bet on non-NFL games.

Broncos coach Sean Payton reviewed the gambling policy with players this offseason. He called the packet from the league "confusing," and admitted that it is his staff's responsibility to simplify the message and rules.

“Obviously, when policies change, it’s our job to educate (the players). (Vice President of football operations & compliance) Mark Thewes was awesome. We’re professional teachers. The packet we received, we looked at, studied it closely and then we presented it in our own PowerPoint," said Payton, who was not coaching the Broncos when Uwazurike violated the policy. "I probably had 20 minutes on it to really make sure everyone has it.”

Uwazurike represents the 10th NFL player suspended for gambling this offseason, four indefinitely, including Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers, linebacker Rashod Berry, and former Detroit Lions linebacker Demetrius Taylor.

In his rookie season, Uwazurike, 25, appeared in eight games, posting 17 tackles with two quarterback hits. He made strides this offseason and was projected to see more playing time along with Matt Henningsen. His absence creates the possibility the Broncos will add depth at the position that features reserves Jonathan Harris and Elijah Garcia.

Broncos' Eyioma Uwazurike suspended indefinitely for gambling