Antonio Callaway

North Notes: Steelers, Browns, Bears, Lions

Le’Veon Bell‘s revelation that he plans to report to the Steelers following their Week 7 bye leads to as many questions as it does answers, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes in a pair of posts. As Florio notes, Pittsburgh will have three options once Bell reports: play him as if nothing ever happened; trade him before the October 30 trade deadline; or rescind Bell’s franchise tender, which wouldn’t lead to any additional draft pick compensation. Additionally, a roster exemption could play a large role in Bell’s return, per Florio. The Steelers will be allowed to use a two-week exemption for Bell once he signs his franchise tag, and club and player will need to agree to the salary Bell will be paid if he’s on the exempt list. If Pittsburgh doesn’t want to pay Bell at his full rate while he’s on the exempt list, Bell could conceivably reinstate his holdout.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Browns rookie receiver Antonio Callaway today pleaded not guilty to a charge of marijuana possession stemming from an August arrest, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Callaway’s lawyer indicated they’ll fight the misdemeanor marijuana charge, but the case doesn’t figure to be resolved for awhile. The NFL, of course, could choose to suspend Callaway regardless of whether he faces legal consequences, but the league will likely let the case play out before taking any action. Unrelatedly, Browns head coach Hue Jackson said today that Callaway’s playing time could be dialed back, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Callway has played the third-most snaps among Cleveland wideouts, producing 10 receptions and 155 yards on 24 targets.
  • After losing Sam Acho for the season, the Bears could theoretically take a look at free agent edge rusher Lamarr Houston, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com speculates (Twitter link). The connection makes sense, as Houston spent the 2015-17 seasons in Chicago before landing with the Texans in 2018. Houston landed only five games with the Texans, and was back on the Bears’ roster for the conclusion of the 2018 campaign. The 31-year-old has drawn plenty of interest on the open market despite not yet landing a contract, as he’s worked out for the Vikings, Seahawks, Raiders, and Jets since April.
  • Lions right guard T.J. Lang is in the concussion protocol after suffering a brain injury in Week 4, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. This is at least the fifth known concussion for Lang, so the issue is obviously serious in nature, tweets Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. Detroit has heavily invested in its front five in recent seasons, using early picks on Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, and Graham Glasgow while inking free agents Lang and Ricky Wagner. Thus far, the unit ranks second in adjusted sack rate and 15th in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders. Veteran Kenny Wiggins filled in for Lang on Sunday and will continue to do so while the latter is sidelined.

AFC Notes: Browns, Pats, McCourty

The Browns were seemingly dealt a big blow last week when receiver Antonio Callaway was arrested. News of the arrest came right after the team had traded away Corey Coleman to the Bills, and not too long after Josh Gordon left the team for an indefinite period of time. Callaway seemed poised to start as a rookie, but his arrest clouded the whole situation.

Callaway apparently did not inform the team of his arrest, and the Browns only found out through media reports. Many speculated the Browns would discipline him internally for failing to tell the team about the incident, but it appears no suspension will be forthcoming. Coach Hue Jackson said after practice today that the team’s punishment for Callaway was playing him nearly the entire game in the preseason opener, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (Twitter link). It seems like Callaway dodged a bullet, as many organizations would’ve been a lot more displeased with his failure to inform them of his situation.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Patriots may have traded for cornerback Jason McCourty back in March, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to make the team. McCourty is on the “roster bubble” according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, who writes that New England currently has a logjam at corner. Reiss thinks McCourty’s lack of special teams contributions could cost him the opportunity to suit up on the same team as his twin brother Devin McCourty, a safety for the Patriots.
  • Speaking of AFC East roster bubbles, tight end Nick O’Leary is a “surprise cut candidate” for the Bills, according to Joe Buscaglia of Buffalo 7. Buscaglia writes that O’Leary was “once thought of as a shoe-in for the 53-man roster”, but has now been demoted to the third-team offense in practice and very well may find himself cut. The 2015 sixth-rounder caught 22 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns last season.
  • As a result of Jalen Ramsey‘s suspension by the Jaguars, the guarantees in his contract could void writes former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry (Twitter link). Although it shouldn’t end up mattering for a player of Ramsey’s caliber, it’s a fascinating look into how quickly all the guarantees in a player’s contract can go out the window in the NFL.

Extra Points: Pats, Browns, Bucs, Vikings

Patriots edge rusher Harvey Langi is expected to miss at least four weeks after suffering an internal laceration caused by a hit during practice, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). While the issue certainly seems serious, a source tells Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) that the injury is relatively minor, and Langi is simply being sidelined for “precautionary reasons.” This isn’t the first time Langi has been hurt by a freak injury, as he and his wife were involved in a serious car crash last October that ultimately landed him on the non-football injury list. An undrafted free agent out of BYU in 2017, Langi was a hot commodity as a UDFA and was reportedly impressing in camp. While this latest health issue may not affect him for the long-term, Langi will lose valuable reps as the preseason continues.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • After being cited for marijuana possession over the weekend, Browns receiver Antonio Callaway intends to fight the charge by arguing the drugs weren’t his, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Cleveland management wasn’t made aware of Callaway’s arrest until media reports surfaced, and the club made it clear to Callaway that his actions were unacceptable, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes. However, general manager John Dorsey believes Callaway did not actually smoke marijuana on the night he was cited, and indicated the Browns have a “low tolerance” policy — in contrast to a “zero tolerance” approach — for minor transgressions. Callaway, a fourth-round rookie out of Florida, is already impressing in his first NFL action tonight as Cleveland faces the Giants.
  • The Buccaneers view second-year wideout Chris Godwin as a starter, writes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Head coach Dirk Koetter says Tampa Bay essentially has four starting receivers, pointing to Godwin, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Adam Humphries as players deserving of playing time. How exactly snaps will shake out once the regular season gets underway is unclear, but Jackson or Humphries, the latter of whom is a slot-only weapon, could be demoted to create space for Godwin. While playing roughly 40% of the the Buccaneers’ snaps in 2017, Godwin managed 34 catches and 525 yards.
  • While Godwin looks to be in line for an expanded role, the same can’t be said for Vikings free agent acquisition Kendall Wright. Because Wright, who signed a one-year deal with Minnesota after spending the 2017 season in Chicago, doesn’t play special teams, he’s shaping up as a weekly inactive, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Wright, 28, posted 58 receptions in a poor Bears passing offense a year ago, and had been expected to see time as the Vikings’ slot receiver. Instead, other options such as Laquon Treadwell, Tavarres King, or Brandon Zylstra may see more action.

Latest On Browns, Antonio Callaway

More Browns wide receiver tumult surfaced this week when Antonio Callaway received a citation for marijuana possession. This marks the latest trouble for Callaway, and new details surfaced on Wednesday.

The rookie wide receiver said the car he was driving that contained the marijuana was transported from his native Florida recently, and he indicated he didn’t know marijuana was present in the vehicle. But TMZ reports gun parts and ammunition were found in the car as well. The police officer who searched the car found the backstrap of a firearm and several rounds of ammo, TMZ reports.

This figures to increase chances the rookie may incur an NFL suspension.

Due to a diluted sample at the Combine, Callaway entered the NFL in Stage 1 of the substance-abuse program. Hue Jackson‘s engaged in several discussions with the young wideout about his status, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, but he was not told about Callaway’s incident until news broke.

Obviously I’m just now finding out about it,” Jackson said, calling this sequence of events “alarming.” “… We will have a very strong conversation about it.

We cannot run from that. Obviously, the red flag is up, because that’s (a type of trouble) that he’s had. Let me work through it, see what it is and go from there.”

This incident occurred nearly 20 hours before the Browns traded Corey Coleman. Callaway was suspended from the Florida Gators program last season but has impressed during camp. The Browns are currently without Josh Gordon and unloaded Coleman on Sunday night, opening the door for more reps for other roster hopefuls. Callaway seems like a lock to make Cleveland’s 53-man unit.

We’ve had no slip ups, no issues,” Jackson said, adding Callaway had “been great” in his conduct since arriving via fourth-round pick. “This is a young player, who obviously made a bad decision or bad choice. I have to find out.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns WR Antonio Callaway Cited For Marijuana Possession

Rookie Browns receiver Antonio Callaway was cited for marijuana possession early Sunday morning, according to Tony Grossi of ESPN.com.

Callaway allegedly failed to yield to oncoming traffic near Strongsville, Ohio and was subsequently pulled over by police at 2:59am. Officers found “a small amount” of marijuana under Callway’s driver seat, which will only result in a minor misdemeanor thanks to Ohio law.

For his part, Callaway says he recently had his car shipped from Florida to Ohio and wasn’t aware there was marijuana in the vehicle, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Callaway is also facing a citation for a driving on a suspended license.

Although Callaway seems unlikely to face any serious legal consequences as the result of his citation, he could be subject to an NFL-imposed suspension, either during the upcoming season or in 2019. It’s worth noting that Callaway tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine in April, and had previously been charged with felonies related to a credit card scam that resulted in his suspension from Florida’s football team.

The Browns traded up in the draft in order to select Callaway with the 105th overall pick, and he’d just been promoted into the club’s starting lineup following the trade of fellow wideout Corey Coleman. Cleveland can ill afford any more depletions to its wide receiver corps, as Josh Gordon is currently away from the team as he deals with off-field issues of his own.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/22/18

Here are Tuesday’s draft pick signings:

  • Third-round tackle Chukwuma Okorafor (pick No. 92) signed his four-year Steelers contract. Out of Western Michigan, Okorafor could be in line for a swing role this season. And Chris Hubbard showed how valuable that could be, with Marcus Gilbert having struggled with injuries and a suspension in recent years.
  • The Browns followed suit by inking third-round defensive lineman Chad Thomas (pick No. 67 out of Miami) and fourth-round wideout Antonio Callaway (No. 105), Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets. A Florida product, Calloway has already been mentioned as a player who could put pressure on 2016 first-round pick Corey Coleman.

Draft Notes: Panthers, Penny, Impact Rooks

With their first-round pick, the Panthers ended up selecting Maryland wideout D.J. Moore. However, General Manager Marty Hurney told SiriusXM’s Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn that his team was considering several players with the pick, including Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley.

“Basically what we did, coming into the draft, we had a group of about five guys that we would be very happy with at 24 and we got our pick and three of those guys were there and it was a hard decision between Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore,” Hurney said. “I think that the difference to us is, and we think they’re both excellent wide receivers, is just D.J. Moore gives us a little different skill set than we had.”

Let’s check out some more draft notes from around the league…

  • Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller touched on a number of topics during his post-draft review. Notably, the reporter noted that the most surprising first-round selection was San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny, who was taken by the Seahawks with the 27th pick. Miller notes that opposing teams didn’t value Penny as highly, and the reporter said the highest team grade (outside of Seattle) rated the running back as a second-rounder.
  • Miller reports that several players failed drug tests, causing them to fall in the draft or go undrafted. This grouping included cornerback Holton Hill, offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, and wideout Antonio Callaway.
  • ESPN’s Mel Kiper looked at several late-round rookies who could immediately make an impact with their new squad. Offensively, Kiper pointed to Patriots wideout Braxton Berrios, Colts running backs Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, and Steelers “Swiss Army knife” Jaylen Samuels. Defensively, Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, Eagles pass rusher Josh Sweat, Rams linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo led Kiper’s list.

Browns Acquire No. 105 From Patriots

The Browns and Patriots have completed a trade. Kyle Kelly of The Browns Wire tweets that Cleveland has acquired the No. 105 pick. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the Patriots will receive No. 114 and No. 178.

The Browns have used the pick on Florida wideout Antonio Callaway. The receiver had a number of transgressions leading up to the draft, including a diluted drug sample, a sexual assault allegation, a misdemeanor marijuana citation, and involvement in a credit-card scam.

Still, the prospect was plenty productive during his collegiate career. He missed the entire 2017 campaign due to suspension, but he hauled in 54 receptions for 721 yards and three scores during the 2016 campaign.

Florida WR Antonio Callaway Reportedly Tests Positive For Marijuana

Former Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway tested positive for marijuana at the Scouting Combine, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Callaway’s new agent, Malki Kawa, has said the positive test was due to a diluted sample. 

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) added that Callaway said he was over-hydrated at the combine and that he will address the positive test with teams.

In terms of talent, Callaway is one of the top receivers slated to be available in this week’s draft. But this is far from his first off-the-field incident that might keep teams from picking him until Day 3 of the draft, if at all. While at Florida, he was cleared of a sexual assault allegation but didn’t do himself any favors at his Title IX hearing, saying he was too “stoned” to have intercourse.

Callaway was also charged with two third-degree felonies for his involvement in a credit card scam while at Florida. He was suspended from Florida’s team for all of last season. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reported on Friday that Callaway had already been completely taken off the draft board of three teams.

Pelissero also reported that Florida had privately told teams in the Southeast to steer clear of Callaway, as he needed to get as far away from South Florida as possible. Some NFL teams still believe he can turn things around and have a positive impact on the field, though.

“He’s not a bad kid, either. He’s just been around a lot of trouble,” an AFC scout told Pelissero. “And he admits to the fact that trouble finds him. He just hangs with the wrong people. It’s a shame, because he’s ridiculously talented.”