NFL preseason: Browns rookie torches Giants just days after run-in with police
In his first career preseason game, Callaway racked up 87 yards on just three catches against a Giants defense that couldn’t figure out how to stop him. Callaway’s biggest catch of the game came in the fourth quarter, when he took a short pass from Baker Mayfield and turned it into a 54-yard touchdown that helped lead the Browns to a 20-10 win.
Although the touchdown was impressive, Callaway actually had an even more electrifying catch in the third quarter.
On a third-and-7 play for the Browns, Mayfield got flushed out of the pocket, and he ended up rifling a pass to Callaway, who made a diving catch on the sideline. Although the pass was ruled incomplete at first, the call was overturned and Callaway was given credit for a 24-yard reception.
The rookie’s big night came just four days after he had a run-in with police in Ohio.
In the early morning hours of August 5, Callaway was pulled over because an officer felt that he didn’t yield for oncoming traffic. During the stop, Callaway was given a citation for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. Police also found a some bullets and a few gun parts in his car during the stop; however, Callaway won’t be facing charges for that.
Despite Callaway’s checkered past, the Browns stood by him this week. The team decided to let him make the trip to New York because they believed the story he gave them after the incident. According to Callaway, he had just recently had his car shipped from Florida to Ohio, and since he hadn’t used the vehicle lately, he had no idea there was marijuana in it.
Before Thursday’s game, Browns general manager John Dorsey told reporters that Callaway sounded “remorseful” about the incident and that he didn’t believe the rookie had smoked any marijuana, according to Cleveland.com.
After the game, Callaway said he would do whatever was necessary to win back the trust of his teammates and coaches.
“I’m still 100 percent committed to the Browns,” Callaway said via the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m still focusing. I hate that negative light had to shine on the Cleveland Browns, but I’m doing whatever I have to do to gain my coaches and my teammates’ trust back. So that won’t happen again.”
Callaway, who was selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft, saw his stock take a major hit after it was revealed that he had failed a drug test at the combine for having a diluted sample. Not only did he fail the drug test, but he also missed the entire 2017 season at Florida after being suspended by the Gators for the role he played in a credit card fraud scheme last August.
Despite his troubles, the Browns still selected him, and it sounds like they’re going to stick by him.
“Antonio was going to be a work in progress,” Dorsey said, via Cleveland.com. “It’s not going to happen overnight. We try day-in and day-out for him to understand what it takes to be a professional football player and what those rules and responsibility are in terms of working on the little things and I think the message was very stern, it was very clear and, moving forward, these types of incidents can’t occur again.”
Based on Thursday’s game, it’s easy to see why the Browns are being patient with Callaway. If he can stay on the field, the rookie wide receiver could turn into a star for them.