After a year in which he single-handedly incinerated all of his value to the Cleveland Browns, wide receiver Antonio Callaway has signed with the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers.
The team announced the move on Thursday.
Callaway was once seen as a promising component of the Browns offense, hauling in 586 receiving yards and five touchdowns during his rookie year last season.
A fourth-round pick out of Florida, the 23-year-old Callaway’s talent was as a receiver was never in doubt coming out of the draft. Instead, it was a litany of off-field incidents that tanked his value before and after the draft, and now has resulted in him signing with another league.
In the last five years, Callaway has been:
cited for marijuana possession in May 2017
tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine in April 2018
drafted by the Browns
reported to camp out of shape in July 2019
suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy in August 2019
benched by the Browns for arriving late to a game in November 2019
All of that added up to Callaway missing 11 games to suspension and one to a benching this season, totaling only 89 receiving yards in four games.
The Browns clearly wanted Callaway to get it together, as evidenced by a tense meeting aired on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” in which then-GM John Dorsey told him, “You’re under the microscope. They want to see you f--- up. You have to prove to them f---ers, I’m a man. I’ve learned from my past, I’ve learned from my mistakes and we’re moving forward.”
Instead, the Browns eventually moved on from Callaway, who apparently didn’t like his chances of getting a job with another NFL team. Good luck with that, XFL.
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