Antonio Callaway

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/19/20

Recent practice squad notes from around the league:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Signed: WR Hakeem Butler
  • Released: S T.J. Green, T Aaron Monteiro

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: OL Brandon Walton

Of course, the big news here surrounds Callaway. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter) that the wideout has earned an additional four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. This means he’ll be eligible to return to the field in Week 8.

Callaway will continue to sit on the Dolphins’ practice squad suspended list, per Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com. The 23-year-old will still be allowed to attend meetings, but he can’t practice with the squad until his suspension ends.

The talented wideout out of Florida fell to the Browns in the fourth round of the 2018 draft thanks in part to a 2016 four-game suspension from former head coach Jim McElwain. Callaway immediately contributed in Cleveland, hauling in 43 receptions for 586 and five scores during his rookie campaign. However, the receiver was suspended for the first four games of the 2019 season after violating the substance-abuse policy, and he underwhelmed in the four games following his return (eight receptions, 89 yards).

He was slapped with a 10-game ban late last year, and the suspension was supposed to last through the third week of the 2020 season. Thanks to the latest suspension, Callaway won’t see the field through the first seven weeks of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Sign WR Antonio Callaway

The Dolphins recently brought Antonio Callaway in for a workout, and they apparently liked what they saw. As Callaway himself posted on social media, he is now a member of the Dolphins (via Mark Wheeler of InsideTheGators.com on Twitter).

According to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com, Callaway will start the season on Miami’s practice squad (Twitter link). He still needs to serve the remaining three games of the 10-game suspension that he was handed last season for his second violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, but he will be permitted to attend meetings and continue to rehab the knee injury he sustained as a member of the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers earlier this year.

The Browns selected Callaway in the fourth round of the 2018 draft after a productive career at the University of Florida. He entered the league with plenty of red flags, and he was largely unable to overcome them in the pros, as evidenced by the two suspensions. But he also displayed plenty of promise in his first season with Cleveland, playing in 16 games (11 starts) and recording 43 catches for 586 yards and five TDs.

The Dolphins’ WR corps is fronted by Preston Williams and DeVante Parker, but once Callaway returns from suspension, he will have a good chance to compete for snaps on a rebuilding outfit that’s looking for low-risk, high-reward candidates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Gilmore, Bell, Callaway

Patriots star CB Stephon Gilmore is set to earn $10.5MM this year, which is quite a bargain when considering that the top of the CB market now features average annual values in the $17MM range. But it does not appear that Gilmore is pushing for a new deal at this time, and though he missed five practices in a row last month, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the absence was not contract-related.

Now for a few more AFC East items:

  • For months, Jarrett Stidham looked like he would be the Patriots‘ starting QB and would serve as the heir apparent to Tom Brady. But now, Reiss says Stidham might actually be the third-stringer behind Cam Newton and Brian Hoyer, and his inability to generate any momentum in training camp has cast his long-term future in doubt.
  • In the same piece linked above, Reiss says that Jermaine Eluemunor has definitively seized the Patriots’ RT job.
  • Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, Jets RB Le’Veon Bell says he has no issues with head coach Adam Gase. In his first comments since his publicly questioning Gase’s decision to pull him out of a recent scrimmage, Bell said, “I don’t understand why everybody is trying to put me and Gase against each other. We’re not against each other. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to believe, but we actually like each other” (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). Though Bell may not make it past this year’s trading deadline with Gang Green, it is in his and Gase’s best interests to limit the drama and focus on getting Bell back to his old form.
  • Former Browns receiver Antonio Callaway recently tried out for the Dolphins, as Albert Breer of SI.com notes (via Twitter). Callaway, a 2018 fourth-round pick, has plenty of promise but has had a very rocky start to his pro career, including two separate suspensions for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He hooked on with the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers in January but suffered a leg injury shortly after signing, and this is the first time we have heard his name in NFL circles since then.
  • The Dolphins just waived QB Josh Rosen, and as Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald tweets, the team could now reunite with Jake Rudock, who spent last season on the Miami practice squad.

Antonio Callaway Joins XFL

The Tampa Bay Vipers have signed former Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway, per a club announcement. The one-time University of Florida standout is looking to work his way back towards the NFL following his release from the Browns and a ten-game suspension from the league office. 

Callaway was drafted by the Browns in the fourth round of the 2018 draft. He clicked with Baker Mayfield as a rookie and finished out with 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns. In 2019, however, it was a different story. The NFL suspended Callaway for the first four games of the year after violating the substance abuse policy and he’s now looking at an additional ten-game ban.

Callaway was suspended during the 2019 season for four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy and, when he returned, he clashed with Browns coaches. The receiver was already teetering on the edge in November when he was hit with an additional ten-game ban for another substance abuse violation, so the Browns cut him. Despite his talent and inexpensive rookie contract, none of the team’s other 31 teams picked him up when he was available.

If Callaway can demonstrate personal growth and perform in the XFL, he might have a chance of someday returning to the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Callaway Loses Suspension Appeal

Former Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway lost the appeal of his ten-game suspension, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). It’s a bad blow for Callaway, who is currently on waivers and was hoping to hook on with another team before the end of the season. 

Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens clashed with Callaway this year and the team ran out of patience with him on Thursday. The Browns cut the talented wideout, partially due to the suspension, but also for other reasons.

Callaway started the year with a four-game suspension for a substance abuse policy violation. Then, recently, the Browns learned that Callaway was facing a separate ten-game ban for a second violation. Despite his flashes of impressive play last year, the Browns were fed up.

Callaway is now up for grabs for the league’s other 31 teams. Any team claiming him would assume the remainder of his inexpensive rookie contract, which extends through 2021. Obviously, Callaway won’t be able to help any team until September 2020, but it’s possible that a non-contending team could roll the dice on him.

Meanwhile, Callaway claims his positive test came from a tainted CBD product (Twitter link). Unfortunately for him, the league’s drug policy is quite strict and insists that players know what they’re putting in their bodies.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Release WR Antonio Callaway

The Browns have released wide receiver Antonio Callaway, per a club announcement. Meanwhile, Callaway is facing, and appealing, a ten-game suspension for another violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, sources tell NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). While that’s a major factor in the team’s decision to cut him, Rapoport hears that it is not the only reason the team waived him.

The Browns drafted Callaway in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, opting to roll the dice on an extremely talented player who had multiple red flags off the field. At times, that talent has shown. Last year, he clicked with Baker Mayfield and finished out with 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns. This year, however, his off-the-field problems reappeared – the NFL suspended Callaway for the first four games of the year after violating the substance abuse policy and he’s now looking at an additional ten-game ban.

The Browns benched Callaway against the Bills on Sunday for reasons that head coach Freddie Kitchens did not disclose. Days later, Callaway is out of a job. Per league rules, he’ll hit the waiver wire as a post-trade deadline cut. In his four games this year, Callaway registered eight catches off of 15 targets for 89 yards and zero TDs.

In a related move, the Browns have activated offensive lineman Drew Forbes. Forbes, a sixth-round pick, is now set to debut after recovering from a knee injury suffered late in the offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Joseph, Callaway, Dozier, Bears QB

The Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph underwent surgery on his meniscus, according to Ben Goessling and Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune. Joseph, who did not play in Minnesota’s 28-24 victory against the Cowboys, has been on the team’s injury report since Week 7 with a knee injury, but had yet to miss any practice until last Thursday.

On a positive note, Joseph has not been placed on injured reserve and Goessling and Krammer cite sources within the organization that are optimistic he will return soon. With their bye coming in Week 12, Goessling and Krammer note the Vikings Week 13 matchup with the Broncos as a possible target date for Joseph’s return.

Here’s more updates from the teams in the AFC and NFC North:

  • Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway was benched shortly before the team’s game against the Bills for tardiness on Sunday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Cleveland still managed to pull out the 19-16 victory without Callaway, but the offense surely could have benefited from another dynamic receiver on the field. In Cabot’s report, a source told her that Callaway parked in a different lot than usual and arrived a few minutes late.
  • The Vikings plan to move forward with Dakota Dozier at right guard if starter Josh Kline has to miss more games with a concussion, according to Ben Goessling and Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune. Dozier replaced Kline after he left Sunday’s matchup against the Cowboys with concussion like symptoms. Kline was diagnosed with a concussion and is now in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Dozier has already started three games this season along Minnesota’s offensive front.
  • If the Bears decide to move on from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky this offseason there will be a plethora of strong veteran options, according to Dan Pompei of The Athletic. Pompei details ten signalcallers with varying degrees of past success. While free-agency seems poised to offer more viable options than usual, the play of young quarterbacks around the league has potentially pushed some other established veterans onto the trade market as well. Sitting at 4-5 and in third place in the NFC North, Chicago’s playoff hopes are dwindling by the week. Trubisky, in his third NFL season, has garnered the brunt of the criticism for the team’s underwhelming performance.

Extra Points: Vinatieri, Callaway, Barkley

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri has struggled mightily this season, and those struggles continued on Sunday. Vinatieri missed a crucial extra point, and the team ended up losing to the Dolphins by four points. Indy ended the game on Miami’s 16-yard line, and would’ve been able to attempt a game-tying field goal if not for Vinatieri’s miss. The organization has stuck by him throughout, but there were signs after the game that their patience might be wearing thin. “We’d been committed to him, but like everybody. … we’re going to always evaluate. Everyone gets measured, everyone’s held accountable. From top to bottom, that’s always the case. Nothing meant to read into that, that’s just the reality,” head coach Frank Reich said, per Joel A. Erickson of The Athletic (Twitter link).

On extra points, Reich said “there is an expectation there. Whatever percent it is to make an extra point, 97 percent, or 96.whatever it is to make that, we need to make those,” Erickson noted in a separate tweet. Vinatieri has now missed six extra points and five field goals on the year. It’s certainly not for sure, but the Colts appear to be inching closer to a divorce with the legendary 46-year-old kicker.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Browns receiver Antonio Callaway was a healthy scratch during Cleveland’s win over the Bills, and it appears there could be something interesting here. Callaway warmed up in uniform as if he was about to play, but then wound up inactive. When asked about it after the game Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said it “was between him and Callaway and repeated the response when asked if it was a disciplinary matter,” according to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. Alper notes that Baker Mayfield said Callaway was in the game plan during the week, but that “things happen.” Since it’s the Browns, it will probably turn out to be something of note.
  • The Giants suffered a tough loss to the Jets on Sunday, and things might get even worse. Star running back Saquon Barkley was spotted getting X-Rays after the game, according to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. Head coach Pat Shurmur conceded Barkley got “banged around pretty good,” but neither the coach nor player was willing to talk about what was wrong. Barkley, of course, just recently returned after missing time with an ankle injury.
  • In case you missed it, some in the Browns organization wanted to hire Kevin Stefanski instead of Freddie Kitchens.

AFC Rumors: Clowney, Brady, Brown, Browns

Two franchise-tagged edge defenders changed teams this offseason, with Dee Ford leaving Kansas City and Frank Clark arriving. Trades for tagged players after the July 15 extension deadline are obviously rarer, but John McClain of the Houston Chronicle expects the Texans to deal away Jadeveon Clowney before the season (Twitter link). NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo agrees but wonders (Twitter link) if the talented defender’s Houston departure will instead come in 2020. The 26-year-old edge presence plans to return to his current team in late August.

Clowney is tethered to a $15.9MM cap number, which is a point of contention for the outside linebacker’s camp because of his greater usage as a defensive end, and cannot be extended by any team until after the regular season ends. The Texans discussed a Clowney trade with the Chiefs, but they opted for a Clark deal soon after. McClain cites the team, despite drafting Tytus Howard in Round 1 and signing Matt Kalil, needing a left tackle as a reason Clowney has a better chance of being traded than suiting up for Week 1.

Clowney’s trade value will not be as high as it was before July 15, however, so the Texans would have to factor this into the equation. They could tag him again in 2020 and continue this long-drawn-out process, potentially revving up the tag-and-trade scenario at that point — when they would likely have a GM again.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Although Tom Brady agreed to an in-name-only extension, setting him up for potential 2020 free agency, and put his house on the market, the Patriots quarterback continues to maintain he would like to play past his 45th birthday. That has long been the 42-year-old passer’s goal, and he reiterated it during an appearance on WEEI (via Pro Football Talk) this week. Brady’s post-2019 status, though, is murky.
  • The redone contract Brady agreed to will place a $21.5MM cap number on the Patriots’ books, Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets. This is down $5.5MM from his previous 2019 cap hold. In doing this, the Patriots, as of Tuesday, possess $15.15MM in cap space (17th-most in the NFL).
  • We have learned plenty about the importance Antonio Brown places on in-game headgear over the past several days. Now, the Raiders receiver is enlisting the help of Twitter followers in hopes of finding a newer brand of his preferred helmet — a Schutt AiR Advantage. The NFL has given Brown the go-ahead here, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, since the NOCSAE could certify a helmet that is less than 10 years old. But it may be difficult for Brown to succeed on this front. This model was discontinued in 2009, per the Toronto Sun’s John Kryk, and a helmet-industry source (we are deep in the weeds here) said any post-production models of this helmet will likely be unavailable so many years later. However, Drew Rosenhaus told Florio his client apparently located “a few” 2010 models and is searching for one from 2011 — to potentially get two more years to wear this type of helmet.
  • Antonio Callaway‘s failed drug test, which will cost him four games, evidently did not occur this offseason. The second-year Browns wide receiver has not failed a test since the end of last season, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Since, the 2018 fourth-round pick has been in a comprehensive drug treatment program. Callaway entered the NFL in stage 1 of the league’s drug treatment program, because of a diluted sample at the Combine — which the Florida alum admitted was an attempt to mask marijuana use — and can be tested up to 10 times per month. Several violations needed to have occurred for him to test positive, per Cabot. Callaway was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession last summer.

AFC Notes: Stidham, Jags, Browns, Bolts

Although Tom Brady continuing to play at a high level into his early 40s has allowed the Patriots to table their need to identify a long-term successor for many years, their recent extension/2019 pay raise brings this issue back to the forefront. The Pats, however, are pleased with their latest quarterback draft pick. Fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham has “blown away expectations” this offseason, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding that he is ahead of where Jimmy Garoppolo was at this point during his first NFL summer. Stidham has taken first-team reps in camp and moved the Patriots to move Danny Etling to wide receiver. He finished 14-for-24 for 179 yards and a touchdown in New England’s preseason opener Thursday. While the Auburn alum does not profile as a classic Brady successor type, the Patriots certainly appear encouraged by their developmental prospect.

As we wind down preseason Week 1, here is the latest from the AFC:

  • A.J. Cann has served as the Jaguars‘ starting right guard since his rookie season in 2015. He is not a lock to reprise his role in 2019. Cann is battling converted tackle Will Richardson for the spot, with Doug Marrone indicating (via Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL, on Twitter) Brandon Thomas is also in the mix here. A 2018 fourth-rounder, Richardson looks like the favorite to win this job thus far, Carlyon adds (via Twitter). Richardson has yet to play an NFL down; he hit IR in October of his rookie year. Thomas has hung around for six NFL summers, with the 2014 third-round 49ers pick having never played in a regular-season game. He’s bounced on and off the Jaguars’ roster and practice squad since 2017. Cann has three years remaining on a contract he signed in 2018.
  • With Cam Robinson potentially set to have a delayed start to the season, Marrone said the Jaguars are considering free agent additions Cedric Ogbuehi and Leonard Wester at left tackle. Longtime Jags backup Josh Wells is vying for that temp job as well. Second-round rookie Jawaan Taylor is set to start at right tackle.
  • Had Antonio Callaway not received a four-game suspension, the second-year Browns wideout might not have been able to go in Week 1 anyway. Callaway suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland’s preseason opener, per Freddie Kitchens (via ohio.com’s Nate Ulrich, on Twitter). The Browns will now be without two of their 2018 pass catchers, with Duke Johnson having been traded and Callaway out until at least October. Fortunately, they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason.
  • Chargers tight end Andrew Vollert suffered ACL damage in the team’s preseason opener, and Anthony Lynn said (via ESPN.com’s Eric Williams, on Twitter) the second-year UDFA will miss the season. The Bolts signed Vollert in May.