As the Cleveland Browns head toward a new season with plenty of hype, Antonio Callaway has been suspended for four games.
After a promising finish last season and the offseason acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr., there’s plenty of positive buzz around the Cleveland Browns. But according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, wide receiver Antonio Callaway has been suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Media has added Callaway’s ban is for a violation unrelated to his citation for marijuana possession last year. He was also cited for marijuana possession during his time at Florida, amid multiple off-field incidents that led to his suspension for the entire 2017 season.
Callaway and Browns general manager John Dorsey released joint statements on the heels of the suspension being announced. Dorsey of course expressed disappointment on behalf of he and head coach Freddie Kitchens, while referencing expectations and helping Callaway.
I take full responsibility for my actions,” Callaway said in his statement. “I made a mistake and I own that. I have taken steps to make myself better and I appreciate the Browns standing by me and supporting me during this time. I know there’s nothing I can say to regain trust; it will all be about my actions.
Callaway was already behind the eight-ball, working with the reserves during training camp from the star after apparently reporting out of shape. Rashard Higgins seemed to instantly usurp him in any battle to be the Browns’ No. 3 wide receiver, with a touchdown for Higgins in the preseason opener among five catches for 98 yards as further proof if any was needed.
Beckham and Jarvis Landry are clearly the top two wide receivers for Cleveland, followed by Higgins, Damion Ratley, Derrick Willies and maybe now even Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi after his punt return touchdown Thursday night. It may have been hard for Callaway to secure himself a spot on the 53-man roster.
Callaway had a mistake-prone rookie season in 2018, on his way to 43 catches (on 79 targets) for 586 yards and five touchdowns. So he had a lot of prove going into training camp. He didn’t even bother to be in good shape though, and now he’s suspended for the first four games of the season.
The Browns don’t seem quite ready to give up on Callaway. But that is clearly subject to change, depending on how things go with some other wide receivers from here to final cut down before Week 1.