The Cleveland Browns will be missing one of their receivers for the start of the 2019 NFL season. Reports that Antonio Callaway is suspended came on Friday, just a day after the team won their preseason opener.
Callaway received a four-game suspension, hampering the team as they look to build upon last season’s success.
Why was Antonio Callaway suspended?
The second-year receiver was given a four-game suspension due to violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Per ESPN’s report, Callaway released a statement in which he said he takes “full responsibility” for his actions. He added:
“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.”
Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey said he and head coach Freddie Kitchens had a conversation with Callaway with regards to the suspension.
“He understands our expectations of him,” Dorsey said. The GM also said, “We will continue to support him as long as he remains committed to taking advantage of the resources made available to him by our club and the league to help him become the best version of himself as a person first and foremost.”
Callaway’s previous suspensions, Browns’ WR situation
It’s unknown exactly what the suspension stems from. Callaway has a previous history involving marijuana which he tested positive for at last year’s NFL Combine.
He also received a citation last August for possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license. When police searched Callaway’s car, they also discovered a gun and bullets.
Callaway also had a season-long suspension back in 2017 when he played for the University of Florida. That stemmed from allegations he used stolen credit card information for funding bookstore accounts.
In May of that year, he received a citation for misdemeanor marijuana possession and drug equipment possession. These were uncovered during a traffic stop in Gainesville, Florida.
Callaway participated in Thursday night’s preseason home game. He tallied 42 yards on three catches, with one near-touchdown catch in the end zone. Callaway was targeted seven times during the game, the most of any receiver.
Didn't count but INSANE effort by Callaway 😮😮😮 pic.twitter.com/pRgqnInqHW
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) August 9, 2019
With Callaway now out for the first four games, the team could turn to Rashard Higgins. He scored a touchdown during the Browns’ victory over the Washington Redskins in Thursday’s preseason game. Other receivers the team will rely on include Jarvis Landry and their major offseason acquisition Odell Beckham Jr.
The next Cleveland Browns preseason game is on August 17 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time when they visit the Indianapolis Colts.