During his freshman season at Florida in 2015, Antonio Callaway was an All-American return man. During his sophomore season in 2016, he was the team’s leading receiver. And then he was kicked off the team for a series of off-field incidents before his junior season.
Now Callaway is hoping that in 2018, NFL teams will look past those off-field incidents and look at what he’s capable of doing on the field.
“I’m not this bad person that the media portrays,” Callaway said. “I mean, I can’t stress it enough. I just gotta . . . actions. Let my actions speak for me.”
Callaway would be wise not to blame himself, not the media, for any perceptions of him as a person. It wasn’t the media that led a woman to accuse him of sexual battery when he was a freshman. (He was later cleared in a Title IX investigation, although the claim he made in his defense, “I was so stoned, I had no interested in having sex with anyone,” isn’t likely to impress NFL teams.) It wasn’t the media that got Callaway cited for marijuana possession in a separate incident. And it wasn’t the media that caused Callaway to throw away his final chance on the Florida football team when he was entangled in a credit card fraud investigation.
NFL teams know what kind of athlete Callaway is. It remains to be seen whether they are convinced he is the kind of person they want on their team.