It was a surprising moment of the NFL Draft in one regard, and yet, almost predictable in another. When the Cleveland Browns drafted former Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway with the fifth pick of the fourth round it was definitely a surprise.
After all, we had written just before the draft that, as if Callaway’s checkered past wasn’t enough to jeopardize him being picked, he had tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
Yet, because it’s the Browns, you know, the team who has re-defined “comedy” with personnel moves on and off the field for going on 15 years, and a team that has won one game in the last two years. So, it wasn’t that surprising that they would be the team to take the risk.
Keeping in mind that this is the team who traded back into the first round and draft Johnny Manziel in 2014, despite more “red flags” around him than a Moscow “May Day Parade” (google it). And, they also have taken troubled players like multi-time league suspended WR Josh Gordon, and even another controversial Gator draft pick, DT Caleb Brantley last year.
Back to Callaway, he was at Browns rookie camp, including with #1 overall pick QB Baker Mayfield, this weekend and Mary Kay Cabot, longtime beat writer for the Browns for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, got some wide ranging comments from him:
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 6, 2018
It’s interesting that Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, who’s from South Florida originally just like Callaway, has become a bit of a mentor of his recently. This despite, the Steelers being in the same AFC North division.
Further, Callaway was candid that he realizes that the Browns, and specifically new GM John Dorsey, are taking yet another chance on a questionable pick and gave these comments Saturday in the Q and A:
“This is just telling that he believes in me, that I can do the right things,” he said. “Just not going let him down. For somebody to put their job on the line, I can’t let him down.”
He agrees with Dorsey that poor life choices “caused me to fall a couple of rounds. I have learned from them, moved on and became a better person and learned from mistakes day by day. Taking it day by day still, growing and maturing.”
Can he be trusted?
“Yes, sir,” he said. “I was just young and immature, living in the moment. I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
Many Gators fans have to wonder about that last sentence, because if there was something Callaway was equally as good at as scoring big play TDs, it was consistently getting in trouble. This is the reason why he never saw the field in 2017 and Gators career was over, as part of a credit card fraud investigation.
And, as for “learning” from all of that? Someone with marijuana issues in his Florida past, just tested positive in Indianapolis, when he knew that a test was coming.
We’ll see if, as Cabot writes, that Callaway having an infant daughter now, a new home, new mentors, etc. all make a difference with him.
Then again, it’s the Browns.
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