The Browns knew from day one that the talented wide receiver could play, they just didn’t know if they could trust him.
And now that he’s gone, they’re doing it all over again.
After trading Josh Gordon to the Patriots, the Browns are pushing rookie Antonio Callaway to the fore, setting up an incredible parallel.
Callaway had a checkered past in college, and failed a drug test at the combine, allowing a unique talent to slip to the fourth round. The Browns were willing to trust him, a trust that was apparently wounded but not broken by his citation for marijuana possession in August, which they punished him for by making him play.
So with the path now clear for Callaway on the field, the Browns are putting the pressure firmly on him. He’s responded well so far, including last week’s 47-yard touchdown which tied the game against the Saints.
“He is making strides,” coach Hue Jackson said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal. “Obviously, the catch to tie the game is a confidence booster for any young player. I think that he was always coming on. We were not trying to push him too fast, not give him too much too fast. Now, he has to take it all. It’s time.”
Callaway had three receptions for 81 yards and the touchdown last week, and they’re making it clear they’re counting on him to continue.
“Absolutely. He ain’t got no choice,” veteran wideout Jarvis Landry said. “But he’s definitely a guy that we’re going to count on, we’re going to lean on. We know he can make plays, and Sunday was a prime example of that. And given more opportunities, I’m sure he’ll make more plays.”
They’re just hoping the story ends differently than it did the last time.