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Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley

5 NFL stars who faced suspension for gambling

The NFL has always had a policy that states that none of its players, coaches or any other personnel member is permitted to wager on NFL games in any form. The rules are reportedly in place to protect the integrity of the game, while trying to prevent a wager from having any influence on performance.


While the exact number of players from NFL history who have broken the gambling rules will never be known for sure, the players who are caught have always received a suspension from the NFL. Here are the five players who have been suspended for doing so.

NFL players who were suspended for gambling

#1 - Calvin Ridley

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley

Calvin Ridley is currently suspended for betting on games during the 2021 NFL season. He was caught placing wagers in November during the 2021 season while away from the team for several weeks dealing with mental health issues.

BREAKING: Calvin Ridley has been suspended a year for gambling on NFL games during the season


He reportedly bet on his own team, the Atlanta Falcons, for, at least, one of his wagers. The league reported that, though he bet on his own team, it was while he was away and never bet on a game that he played in. If he had, the penalty likely would have been a lot worse, but he's still suspended for, at least, a full year.


#2 - Josh Shaw

Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Josh Shaw

Josh Shaw was on the Injured Reserve list during the 2019 season when he went to Las Vegas and wagered on games. He admitted to doing so and reportedly never hid anything that he was doing, claiming that he misunderstood the rules that banned him from gambling.


Shaw was reinstated prior to the 2021 season but has yet to sign with another team. He spent five years with four different teams in his professional career and is currently eligible to join any team.

Players who were suspended from the NFL for gambling

#3 - Art Schlichter

Art Schlichter, Image Credit: Bleacher Report

Art Schlichter may be the most notorious gambler in NFL history. He admits that it was an addiction that caused him to lose a ton of money, as well as his career. He got into trouble with the law multiple times for committing crimes related to the addiction.

Schlichter was selected in the 1982 Draft and was suspended for the 1983 season for gambling on games. He tried to make a comeback for the 1987 season but was arrested for running an illegal gambling ring. He has battled the issue for a long time and recently spent ten years in prison from 2011 to 2021 for gambling-related theft.

#4 - Alex Karras

Alex Karras, Image Credit: WXYZ Detroit

Alex Karras may be remembered more for being an actor in popular movies and TV shows like Blazing Saddles and Webster, but before that, he was an All-Pro defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions and was eventually selected to the Hall of Fame.

#ICYMI: Alex Karras has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Centennial Slate for the Class of 2020.

@Lions | #PFHOF20 | @gmfb

Karras was suspended for the entire 1963 season after honestly admitting that he was gambling on games. He apologized for his decision and claimed to regret his mistakes. He was reinstated after his suspension and played seven more seasons for the Lions.

#5 - Paul Hornung

Paul Hornung, Image Credit: Legacy.com

Paul Hornung was suspended for the entire 1963 season for gambling on games, the same season Alex Karras was suspended as well. Hornung was one of the best players in the league at the time, winning the 1961 NFL MVP award and contributing to the Green Bay Packers winning the first Super Bowl in history.

Paul Hornung was suspended for gambling in 1963.
He took responsibility for his actions and accepted his punishment, like a man should.

Hornung reportedly believes that the league made a bit of an example out of him, as he claims many other players were doing it as well. Suspending one of the best and most popular players would send a message to them to stop. It appears to have worked, but Hornung was not particularly happy about it, admitting that many years later.

Edited by
Windy Goodloe
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