Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway has been suspended four games to start the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the league announced Friday.
The news comes less than 24 hours after Callaway caught three passes (out of six targets) for 42 yards in Cleveland’s 30-10 win over Washington in the preseason opener Thursday.
“We’re disappointed in Antonio,” general manager John Dorsey said in a statement, adding that he and coach Freddie Kitchens “have had a direct conversation with him about where we stand.”
The suspension stems from an August 2018 incident in which Callaway was cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. Callaway had argued at the time that he wasn’t responsible for what police described as a “small amount” of marijuana found under a seat after he was pulled over in Strongsville, Ohio.
Callaway — who was battling Rashard Higgins for the No. 3 receiver role — has been running with the reserves, which according to NFL.com could stem from the suspension which had been under appeal.
Sources: #Browns WR Antonio Callaway is being suspended 4 games for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He had been appealing this ruling. This may party explain why he’s been running with the reserves.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 9, 2019
He had 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie last season.
Under terms of the suspension, Callaway is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. He will be eligible to return to the Browns’ active roster on Monday, Sept. 30, after the team’s Sept. 29 game at Baltimore.
“I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a mistake and I own that,” Callaway said in a statement. “I have taken steps to make myself better, and I appreciate the Browns standing by me and supporting me during this time. I know there’s nothing I can say to regain trust; it will all be about my actions.”
The Browns selected Callaway in the fourth round of the 2018 draft despite a troubled past.
He was suspended during his final season at Florida for involvement in a credit card fraud case and was cited for marijuana possession while there, too. He was marked as tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine in February 2018.
Callaway already was in Stage 1 of the league’s substance abuse program so also could be subject to a fine because of this infraction.