From a talent perspective, the Cleveland Browns have one of the top duos at wide receiver in the NFL in Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry. One can certainly make the case that this makes a better pair than even the Pittsburgh Steelers have following the Antonio Brown trade.
If you ask quite team has the better group of wide receivers, however, Pittsburgh’s bunch seems to have more depth and upside. There isn’t a lot on paper or in potential that wows you on Cleveland’s wide receiver depth chart behind their top two players. There’s Rashard Higgins, who’s done his thing for the past several years in a depth role. Jaelen Strong was a somewhat recent acquisition.
From a talent level, Antonio Callaway is their third guy, however. But the reasons that his draft stock fell last year are continuing to show up. After reporting to training camp with a lack of proper conditioning—something you never want to see from a second-year wide receiver who has played—he revealed yesterday that he is going to serve a four-game suspension to begin the 2019 regular season.
Callaway had been mostly running with the second-team unit during training camp, and we were initially told that this was because he was not in the proper shape, a combination of his own need to improve and a punishment for lacking diligence.
But it’s likely that the looming suspension, which he had been appealing, was part of that discussions as well. Callaway was actually cited for possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license a year ago in August, but this suspension stems from a separate incident.
“We’re disappointed in Antonio”, General Manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “He understands our expectations of him. We will continue to support him as long as he remains committed to taking advantage of the resources made available to him by our club and the league to help him become the best version of himself as a person first and foremost”.
Callaway, who recorded 43 receptions for 586 yards and four touchdowns during his rookie season and had become a favored target of Baker Mayfield’s late in the year, still figures to be an important piece of the offense when he comes back from suspension. He has recently been dealing with an ankle injury, however, so already was not on the field.
“I take full responsibility for my actions”, he said in a statement of his own. “I made a mistake and I own that. 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”.
He claimed to take full responsibility for his actions only after he lost an appeal for the suspension, of course. Yesterday was a day in which a lot of people were saying “we’re disappointed in Antonio”, though, so it just seems to fit.