NFL star Sammy Watkins chose poker over training earlier this week but it’s unlikely he’ll face any disciplinary from the Buffalo Bills.
Watkins, who plays as a wide receiver, has been with the Bills since 2014 after he was the fourth overall pick in the annual draft.
Coming off a college career with Clemson that saw him receive a number of accolades, including ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year (2011), Watkins has been tipped for big things in the NFL.
However, despite his promising career and obvious talent on the field, Watkins commitment to the game has come under fire after he elected not to attend a voluntary training session and play poker instead.
While the majority of his teammates were being put through their paces by head coach Rex Ryan, Watkins was coming off an all-night poker session at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in North Carolina.
Currently hosting the latest leg of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit, the casino was packed with players and became the preferred choice for Watkins earlier this week.
While some might have been inclined to keep their extracurricular activities on the down low after missing practice, Watkins had no such remorse as he posted a picture of his winnings on Twitter.
Spread into seven piles amounting to $6,500 in cash, Watkins clearly enjoyed his time at the tables but whether or not his coach will be impressed is unclear.
Although the workouts weren’t mandatory, NFL teams have historically taken a negative stance against poker.
In fact, back in June 2015, a group of players from the Miami Dolphins were told they weren’t allowed to take part in a $94 tournament at Coconut Creek’s Seminole Casino.
Despite being scheduled to take part in the tournament as special guests, the NFL informed AJ Francis, Jason Fox and Jordan Cameron that they weren’t allowed to take part under the league’s rules.
According to the NFL’s code of conduct, active players aren’t allowed to take part in events held inside casinos.
Such is the league’s opposition to casino-based events that it also prevented Tony Romo from participating in a fantasy football convention in Las Vegas back in 2015.
While Watkins hasn’t broken any rules this time around, there’s a possibility the NFL and the Bills might have a quiet talk with him and suggest he doesn’t advertise his poker activities to the world when he’s supposed to be training.