Only the Cleveland Browns.
When the Browns traded failed first-round pick Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills for a future seventh-round pick over the weekend, that gave the Browns a chance to elevate rookie receiver Antonio Callaway up the depth chart. Callaway is a talented player but fell in the draft due to multiple off-field red flags.
As it turns out, just hours before the Browns traded Coleman, Callaway was cited at 2:59 a.m. for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license.
Antonio Callaway had many red flags heading into the draft
Nicholas Kovach of Fox 8 in Cleveland reported that Callaway was cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license early Sunday morning, citing a report from Strongsville (Ohio) Police. WKYC in Cleveland also reported the citation.
In a vacuum, that’s not the most serious brush with the law. But Callaway’s past makes it a more disturbing issue.
Callaway was suspended for the entire 2017 season at the University of Florida; he was one of nine Gators players accused of using stolen credit cards. There was a report that Callaway tested positive for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine, though his agent says it was a diluted sample. For someone with Callaway’s past, knowing he’d be tested at the combine, a startling lack of judgment to end up in that situation was another huge red flag.
Callaway was also investigated for sexual assault as a freshman (he was found not responsible at a Title IX sexual assault hearing), and claimed he was “so stoned I had no interest in having sex with anyone.” Callaway also was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession in May 2017.
The Browns took a chance on Callaway with a fourth-round pick, then put a strange amount of trust in him as they elevated him up the depth chart.
Callaway now on NFL’s discipline radar
The Browns probably would have dumped Coleman no matter what. That they were able to only get a future seventh-round pick back for Coleman tells you how the league views Coleman at this point.
Still, the timing of Callaway’s marijuana citation is humorous for a team that can’t seem to do anything right. They’ve made an incredible amount of bad draft decisions through the years, in part because they ignore off-field risk. It’s understandable why the Browns would take a shot on the talented Callaway, and it’s absolutely unsurprising that he got in more trouble. Now he’s on the NFL’s discipline radar for Sunday’s issue. Even if much of the world is changing its views on marijuana, the NFL hasn’t budged much.
The Browns need Callaway, after the Coleman trade and with Josh Gordon’s status a mystery. Callaway isn’t in so much trouble it should affect his status on the Browns right away. It’s just another head-shaking story for a franchise that can’t seem to get out of its own way.
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