The Cleveland Browns simply had enough of second-year wide receiver Antonio Callaway.
The Browns waived Callaway on Thursday prior to their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers after a litany of problems surrounding the pass-catcher. The team also activated rookie offensive lineman Drew Forbes.
Callaway had functioned mostly as the Browns No. 3 wide receiver this year, but was inactive in the team’s win last week against the Bills. The reported reason for Callaway being benched was hat he arriving late to the game, in part because he parked in a different lot than usual, according to Cleveland.com.
There’s also the issue that he has been suspended 10 games for two failed drugs tests, although he is awaiting word on his appeal.
According to Mary Kay Cabot, Callaway used a CBD edible product over the summer to help with pain from his ankle injury, but it contained THC, which showed up in his drug test.
Callaway has just 8 catches for 89 yards this season — 41 of that coming on one play.
His most memorable play of the season was a disastrous drop at the goal line against the 49ers that bounced into a defender’s hands and swung the momentum of the game.
“I don’t know if he got the message or not, but I’m not wavering,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said this week. “I always want our guys to make good choices. I did what I felt I need to do and it’s over.”
The Browns selected Callaway out of Florida last season in the fourth round with the 105th overall pick. He caught 43 balls for 586 yards five touchdowns last season.
Antonio Callaway Was a Risky Pick for Browns
Callaway had a troubled history coming out of the University of Florida and was a controversial pick, especially considering that the Browns had dealt with the Josh Gordon saga for quite some time.
Callaway was suspended for his entire 2017 season with the Gators for his role in a credit card fraud scheme. He was also charged with marijuana possession and was the subject of a sexual assault investigation during his time in Gainesville.
Callaway released a statement through the Browns shortly after the news of hs suspension broke, promising to be better.
“I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a mistake and I own that. I have taken the 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 gave Callaway plenty of chances, but his actions ended up speaking louder than that statement. ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported that the Browns said Callaway simply had “too many issues.”
Rashard Higgins Should Step Into Bigger Role
With Callaway out of the picture, the logical move would be for Rashard Higgins to slide into the Browns No. 3 wide receiver spot.
It’s been a tough year for Higgins, who has been used sparingly since missing five games with a sprained MCL he suffered in the team’s opener against the Titans. He has been targeted just four times since returning to the lineup — one of those being the game-winning touchdown against the Bills.
Higgins played 33 snaps last week with Callaway out — a season-high.
Last season Higgins had 39 catches for 572 yards and 4 touchdowns — all career highs — and built a strong rapport with quarterback Baker Mayfield as a security blanket of sorts. There has been plenty of support to get the man known as “Hollywood” back in action.
KhaDarel Hodge, Damion Ratley and Taywan Taylor are also on the Browns depth chart.