The Cleveland Browns released wide receiver Antonio Callaway on Thursday.
With an open roster spot to fill, the team subsequently added rookie offensive lineman Drew Forbes to the roster.
While it was widely expected that the Browns would activate Forbes, who has spent the season on injured reserve, it comes as a bit of a surprise at first that it is at the expense of Callaway, a fourth-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.
But then NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Callaway is currently appealing a 10-game suspension for another violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Callaway had his hearing with the league in the last week and the suspension reportedly stems from a “tainted CBD product.”
#Browns WR Antonio Callaway is appealing a 10-game suspension for another violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, sources say. That is not the only reason the team waived him, but it is an important factor. He had his hearing in the last week.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 14, 2019
Callaway also late to another team function this week, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler:
Source says Antonio Callaway was late again this week - just days after showing up past the scheduled time for the Buffalo game — and the team is bracing for another potential drug-related suspension with the NFL. A second suspension would result in 10 games missed. Team fed up.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) November 14, 2019
While general manager John Dorsey loves nothing more than a redemption story, having a player face another suspension was apparently enough for even Dorsey to realize it was time to call it quits.
Callaway opened the season with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy and then was benched for last Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills for reportedly arriving late for the game. Between those two events he did little on the field as he had just eight receptions for 89 yards and has often struggled to line up correctly or run the proper routes. That wasn’t Callaway’s first brush of trouble this season, as he came to training camp this summer out of shape.
The Browns drafted Callaway even after he was dismissed from the team at Florida for his involvement in a credit card fraud case and tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Callaway is the fourth player to be released or traded from Dorsey’s first draft class with the Browns, joining offensive lineman Austin Corbett (No. 33 overall), linebacker Genard Avery (No. 150), and defensive back Simeon Thomas (No. 188).