Nabers: NFL Offensive Rookie of Year bet with Daniels is off

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The $10,000 bet between former LSU teammates Jayden Daniels and Malik Nabers for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award is off.

Nabers, the sixth overall pick by the New York Giants, said the decision was made after learning about the NFL's gambling policy. The rookie wide receiver announced the news after his first professional practice Friday at rookie minicamp.

"I'm educated now that I got here about sports betting and gambling," he said. "So we're calling the bet off. There is no bet now. It was just another brother pushing another brother to try to get to success. That is all it was."

Nabers first mentioned on "The Pivot" podcast with Ryan Clark that there was a wager. Daniels, his college quarterback and the No. 2 pick by the Washington Commanders, confirmed it during an interview on the "All Facts No Brakes" podcast with Keyshawn Johnson on Wednesday.

Two days later, the bet is no more.

"We were uneducated on the gambling policy in the NFL," Daniels said. "We learned about it last night. Me and him had a conversation and we canceled the bet. Obviously we don't want to get in trouble, so we're focused on being the best players for our respective teams."

ESPN contacted the NFL league office this week to determine if the wager would violate its policy on gambling but did not immediately hear back. The league's policy states that NFL personnel are prohibited from "placing, soliciting or facilitating any bet, whether directly or through a third party," on any NFL game, practice or other league event, such as the draft or combine." It includes betting on the outcome of a game, statistics, the score or individual performance and other prop bets.

The 2022 gambling policy stated that gambling includes "private wagers between teammates, family and friends, or others" but that was not included in the revised 2023 policy.

It's not completely new for friends to place bets on Offensive Rookie of the Year. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, then with the Cleveland Browns, bought former Giants running back Saquon Barkley a diamond-encrusted necklace to pay off a similar wager after Barkley earned the honor in 2019. Mayfield even publicly flaunted the chain when presenting it to the winner.

Mayfield was the No. 1 pick that year. Barkley was taken second by the Giants.

But a lot has changed since then. The NFL suspended 10 players last year for gambling violations. A handful have since been reinstated.

Daniels told Johnson in the podcast that "whoever lose gotta pay, I think it's $10,000 cash."

Nabers signed his rookie contract Monday. It's for four years and worth about $29.2 million.

"Surreal," Nabers said. "When I put my name on that paper, I was kind of shaking a little bit. And I got emotional because the job is not done but another stage in my life was done. For me to make it to this part of my life, part of my journey, it was a pat on my back in that moment."

Daniels and Nabers are coming off massive seasons for the Tigers. Daniels won the Heisman Trophy after throwing 40 touchdown passes and just four interceptions.

A lot of that damage came through Nabers, his top receiver. Nabers had 1,569 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns during a season in which he became LSU's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.

"That boy is a dog, man," Daniels told Johnson. "He's a true receiver. He believes he's always open but he's competitive for real. If he don't think a defensive back can guard him, he'll let him know. If he catches a ball, he makes a play, he's going to let you know.

"He's similar to Ja'Marr [Chase], just how explosive they are."

While Nabers specified Friday that he wouldn't be putting any of his money at risk in the bet with Daniels, he did reveal making a substantial purchase after being drafted. Nabers bought his mother, Tanya, her first house. He presented it to her last week.

He also talked about how serious football is to him and credited it with saving his life.

"Only thing I felt I could do with my life. It was the only thing I felt when I looked at what I wanted to do in the future that I had plans to do," Nabers said. "It saved me and my family's life. It put my mom in a house that she wants. It changed my life forever. So I'm happy to be here."

ESPN's John Keim contributed to this report.