As a rookie, Antonio Callaway found himself in some hot water and promised his Cleveland Browns teammates it wouldn’t happen again, but it did
The Cleveland Browns took a gamble on wide receiver Antonio Callaway in the 2018 NFL Draft. A talented kid from Florida, Callaway spent the 2017 season off the team as he was suspended following accusations of sexual assault. In addition to this — and other red flags while with the Gators — he also tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine.
Callaway ended up going to the Browns in the fourth round, which was much lower than his talent suggests he should have gone. Then, not long after he was picked, Callaway found himself in some trouble.
During training camp, the rookie was stopped by police and cited for driving on a suspended license and for marijuana possession. Even worse, Callaway didn’t tell the team about the incident, but waited for general manager John Dorsey and former head coach Hue Jackson to find out on their own.
After sitting through a lecture from both men on ‘Hard Knocks’, the rookie gave an apology that sounded just as forced as one a mother makes one teenager give to another. While it’s hard to judge sincerity, we can at least look at his words and Callaway did offer up a promise during this speech.
"“I gotta carry myself like a professional. It won’t happen no more.” — Callaway said to his teammates via John Roberts of ESPN"
Unfortunately, he’s already broken that promise as news broke on Friday that he was found to be in violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and will miss the first four games of the season.
Following the suspension, Callaway released a statement saying he takes ownership of his mistake and that he will take steps to fix this. He also said he knows he has lost trust, which is true considering he didn’t live up to his promise to be better last time.
The difference this season, is that the Browns are much better at receiver. Callaway, who ran with the backups on Thursday’s preseason opener, had an up close view of Rashard Higgins, Jaelen Strong, and Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi making plays. That’s without even mentioning Odell Beckham, Jr., and Jarvis Landry who are the top two wideouts.
Callaway still seems to have the team’s support, but that only lasts if he continues to be needed. With the players Cleveland has fighting for spots right now, that need could be dwindling.
His roster spot may not be in danger just yet, but he needs to realize his chances are running out — especially as the talent continues to grow around him.