When the Browns take the field against the Steelers, they won't have Antonio Callaway, and that's because the team surprisingly decided to release the second-year receiver just hours before the Thursday night game was set to kick off.
According to NFL.com, one of the reasons the Browns decided to cut him is because he's facing a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, which would mark the second time this season that he's been suspended.
The move by the Browns ends a rough year for Callaway, who missed a total of five games in 2019 due to off-field issues. The 22-year-old missed the first four games of the to Cleveland.com, Callaway was a late arrival to the stadium on Sunday, which didn't sit well with Kitchens, who decided to put him on the inactive list for the Browns' 19-16 win over the Bills., and then he missed another game on Sunday after coach Freddie Kitchens decided to bench him. According
Kitchens was asked about the benching on Monday and it was pretty clear that he was still unhappy with the receiver's decision to show up late to the stadium.
"I don't know if he got the message or not, but I'm not wavering," Kitchens said of the benching, via Cleveland.com. "I always want our guys to make good choices. I did what I felt I need to do and it's over."
According to ESPN.com, the Browns officially decided to move on from Callaway after he showed up late to a team function this week, which marked the second time in five days that he had been tardy.
Although Callaway only caught eight passes for 89 yards in four games of action this season, the Browns were willing to put up with his issues because he had such an explosive rookie year in 2018. After the Browns selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, Callaway responded by catching 43 passes for 586 yards. Callaway also led the entire team with five touchdown receptions in 2018.
Now that he's a free agent, Callaway will almost certainly be drawing interest from teams around the league, although those teams will have to weigh his talent against his off-field issues and the fact that he's facing a 10-game suspension. Callaway is currently appealing the suspension and will have to sit out if the arbitrator's decision doesn't go his way.
Callaway was actually pegged to be a possible late first-round pick in 2018, but his draft stock fell due to multiple issues. Not only did he fail credit card fraud scheme last August. Callaway also got into some trouble just before the start of his rookie year when he and driving with a suspended license, although the citations were later dismissed. The marijuana citation was unrelated to his 2019 suspension, which he was given for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy., but he also missed the entire 2017 season at Florida after being suspended by the Gators for the role he played in a
With Callaway done in Cleveland, the Browns will likely turn to Rashard Higgins to fill the third receiver spot behind Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. Higgins actually caught the game-winning touchdown during the Browns' win over the Bills on Sunday.
To fill Callaway's roster spot, the Browns have activated offensive lineman Drew Forbes from injured reserve.