A rookie who played too much in a preseason game? The Browns always seem to have some kind of negative or controversy going on and now, it involves rookie Antonio Callaway and the amount of playing time he had in the preseason opener.
And it’s not that the former controversial Gators WR didn’t get to play or didn’t get to play enough. Rather, the questions being thrown the way of head coach Hue Jackson have to do with: him playing too much.
You read that correctly.
Callaway played into the fourth quarter of the Browns 20-10 preseason victory over the Giants, including a 54-yard catch-and-run touchdown from rookie #1 overall pick Baker Mayfield in the fourth quarter.
But, it’s what Jackson said after the game that has Browns fans, Cleveland sports radio, and the internet buzzing.
When asked if Jackson had played Callaway an extended amount of time because of his off-the-field troubles, including recently being cited for marijuana possession in a Cleveland suburb, Jackson immediately agreed:
“Absolutely,” Jackson said regarding whether the extensive playing time was discipline related. “That was the plan. It was. I was trying to make him play the whole game if we could. I did not want him to come out. . . . That was part of the consequence of what he has been through, and he knows it. That is what it was. Either you sit him or make him play. I thought it was better to make him play. Make him play as long as he could. There were a couple of times he kept waving to come out, and we said, ‘No, stay in.’”
And while there are former players who are now speaking out against that kind of tactic, it is not uncommon for younger players to play most of preseason games for a variety of reasons. Most of it is related to: they haven’t been in live contact for an extended period of time in an NFL game.
Of course Callaway hadn’t been involved in any kind of an organized game dating back to his brief career at the University of Florida. After all, he was suspended for the entire 2017 season due to a credit card investigation.
That and his diluted sample drug test at the NFL scouting combine caused his stock to drop. And, he has first-round talent yet ended up still available in the fourth round for Cleveland to take him.
We wrote last week about Calloway’s traffic citation with the drugs being the latest controversy now that he’s a member of the Browns.
In the end, last Thursday night Callaway finished with five receptions, 87 yards and a touchdown and played a total of 57 snaps.
It’s also interesting that this came on the heels of new Browns free agent pro bowler Jarvis Landry lighting into his fellow wide receivers about not wanting to practice hard or when nicked up by injury. Calloway was sitting in the receivers room when HBO and NFL Films “Hard Knocks” cameras caught the tirade.
The Browns had also traded wide receiver Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills at the beginning of training camp, and from a football standpoint, are trying to determine, if Callaway can help them immediately.
You have to believe that all of this will be part of the latest airing of Hard Knocks Tuesday night on HBO.
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