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Commanders’ Daniels and Giants’ Nabers call off their $10K bet between ex-LSU teammates

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ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Jayden Daniels feels his biggest challenge after being drafted second by the Washington Commanders to become their franchise quarterback is learning how to be a pro.

He learned an important lesson before throwing his first NFL pass.

Daniels, the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner, and former LSU teammate Malik Nabers, now a receiver with the division-rival New York Giants taken four picks later, said Friday they called off their $10,000 bet over who would be offensive rookie of the year.

“We were uneducated on the gambling policy in the NFL,” Daniels said after the first practice of the Commanders’ rookie minicamp. “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 or anything.”

Word of the wager emerged from recent podcast appearances the players made. Nabers first mentioned it, then Daniels — after saying Nabers wasn’t supposed to talk about it — confirmed the financial ramifications.

With so much scrutiny over gambling, including several players being suspended in recent years for violating league policy, betting on performance, even privately without a sportsbook involved, could have been considered a violation.

“I’m educated now that I got here about sports betting and gambling,” Nabers said after Giants rookie minicamp in East Rutherford, New Jersey. “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’s all it was.”

Chicago’s Caleb Williams, the No. 1 pick, is favored to win offensive rookie of the year honors, according to BetMGM Sportsbook, with Daniels as the 6-1 second choice and Nabers fifth at 11-1.

“We’re just focused on being the best players for our respective teams,” Daniels said.

It’s possible Daniels’ wallet is already a little lighter after reaching an agreement with punter Tress Way, Washington’s longest-tenured player, to wear the same No. 5 he had at LSU and previously at Arizona State. Daniels would not reveal the terms of the deal but thanked Way for working with him to get it done.

“Obviously it was very hard for him, sentimental value to him and me,” Daniels said. “He’s a legend here, so I’m very appreciative that he allowed me to wear his jersey.”

Daniels took the field in a yellow practice version of that jersey Friday along with seven of the other eight Commanders draft picks, several rookie free agents and players on tryouts. The first of their three second-round selections, defensive tackle Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton, did not take part and observed with a boot on his surgically repaired left foot.

Running drills allowed him to throw passes to a couple of players drafted on Day 2 to give Daniels some help: tight end Ben Sinnott and receiver Luke McCaffrey, brother of the 49ers’ Christian. But it wasn’t the first chance for them to connect after getting together in recent weeks and months for informal workouts and training in California.

“Really enjoyed spending time with him, throwing, running routes for him,” said Sinnott, a second-rounder pick out of Kansas State. “He’s a super talented kid, a great dude and one person I really like just to be around and hopefully grow with.”

McCaffrey, also the son of three-time Super Bowl-winning receiver Ed, echoed that sentiment about Daniels on and off the field.

“He’s a stud,” said McCaffrey, a third-rounder out of Rice. “He’s one heck of a quarterback and he’s a lot of fun to play with from a personality standpoint, and so I’ve had a blast in just 24 hours being in D.C. with him.”

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AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed.

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AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer

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