Cleveland Browns take a flyer on Caleb Brantley amid assault allegations
The Cleveland Browns took a chance on Florida’s Caleb Brantley late in the draft. Will the team regret the gamble in the end?
The Cleveland Browns were having a successful 2017 NFL Draft, but then the sixth round happened on Saturday.
The Browns opened the round by selecting Caleb Brantley, a defensive tackle from the University of Florida. A few weeks ago Brantley was seen as a first- or second-round talent by some draft analysts. But then an off-the-field incident where Brantley allegedly struck a woman in a bar sent his draft stock plummeting.
According to the police report, on April 13 at 2:15 a.m. Brantley and the victim got in a verbal dispute. The victim proceeded to allegedly shove Brantley and Brantley responded by allegedly “striking her in the face, knocking her unconscious.” The alleged hit resulted in “the victim sustaining dental injuries that displaced a tooth and will require a root canal.”
The police came to the conclusion that the “defendant’s use of force was clearly out of retaliation and not self defense.”
Sounds pretty graphic according to the police report, but Brantley’s side has a different story from the night: “Mr. Brantley, in reaction to that sudden occurrence, put out his right arm in an attempt to push away his attacker. His hand made contact with her face due to his reflex reaction.”
Brantley’s attorney also added that “Mr. Brantley was not the aggressor. Mr. Brantley is the victim.”
The attorney for Brantley also obtained video of the alleged incident and released it to the pubic. The video shows the victim and her friends walking away from her incident with Brantley. Two days prior to the NFL Draft, Brantley declined a settlement offer from the defendant, choosing to let the process work itself out.
Basically, this whole things sounds a bit messy. From what we know about the Cleveland Browns decision to draft him, it seems like they were comfortable with the facts as they currently stand.
Browns vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, in a press conference immediately following the pick, added that the team is still investigating and working diligently to get all of the information available, but felt comfortable with the information they did have enough to draft Brantley, according to ohio.com:
"“It’s something that is very concerning for us, continues to be a concern. From our standpoint, we communicated to Caleb how serious a matter this is to us, this is something he can’t repeat as he moves forward. And more importantly than that, we communicated to Caleb this is still something we’re investigating and looking into."
"“Facts may turn up that prevent us from being able to keep him on our roster. We did feel like at this point in the draft and what we knew so far, the person, the player, the incident, this was an OK point in the draft to take him.”"
While we are still unsure what happened on that night, we should not draw conclusions until the process has worked itself out. If Brantley proves to be guilty, the Browns can cut bait.
Next: Browns select RB Matthew Dayes
If Brantley proves to be innocent, the Browns might have just gotten a yet another steal in the NFL draft.