Cleveland Browns rookie wide receiver Antonio Callaway was cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license early Sunday morning, according to a police report.
Per the Strongsville (Ohio) report, Callaway was stopped at 2:59 a.m. Sunday after he was seen failing to yield to oncoming traffic. The officer found his driver’s license to be suspended and “a small amount” of marijuana was found under the driver’s seat. Deputy Chief John Janowski said the latter offense was regarded as a minor misdemeanor based on the amount Callaway possessed.
The arrest came hours before the Browns traded 2016 first-round wideout Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills for a 2020 seventh-round pick, which elevated Callaway into a starting role in three-WR sets. The 2018 fourth-round pick worked as the second receiver during Tuesday’s practice, as Josh Gordon remains out while completing drug rehab treatment in Gainesville, Fla.
It is unclear if the Browns were aware of Callaway’s citation before trading Coleman.
“It helped open the door for me to more opportunities to show what I can do at the next level for the first time,” Callaway told reporters Monday about the Browns’ trade of Coleman. “It gave me confidence to push harder and do the extra.”
Callaway, 21, has a history of off-field issues. He was accused of sexual assault after his freshman year at Florida (2015) but was cleared of charges after he said in a hearing he was “so stoned” on the date in question that he did not want to have sex.
Callaway was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession in May of 2017, pleading no contest and paying a fine, and then was also suspended for the whole 2017 season for his involvement in an alleged credit-card fraud scheme.
He failed his drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine in March for what his agent said was a diluted sample, though ESPN reported Callaway tested positive for marijuana. NFL Network reported Callaway told teams he had smoked marijuana about six weeks before the combine.
Players who fail the combine drug test are placed in Stage 1 of the NFL’s drug program, but they can exit the program if they do not test positive for 90 days. It is unclear if Callaway remains in the program.
Absent the off-field concerns, many pegged Callaway as a contender to be the 2018 NFL Draft’s best wideout prospect.
He impressed on the field at Florida, collecting 89 catches for 1,399 yards and eight total touchdowns as a freshman and sophomore. He chipped two punt-return touchdowns as a freshman and a kick-return touchdown as a sophomore.
The Browns traded a sixth-round pick to move up nine spots in the fourth round and take Callaway.
General manager John Dorsey, who made a similar move with the Kansas City Chiefs by taking Tyreek Hill despite off-field concerns, voiced strong support of Callaway after drafting him.
“This kid will be driven to prove to people that ‘I made a mistake but I’m excited to be a Cleveland Brown,’’’ Dorsey said at the time.
—Field Level Media