Antonio Callaway’s long road back to the NFL is nearing its completion.
Callaway, the ex-Browns receiver who struggled with personal issues both before and during his NFL career, recently received a league-mandated suspension. When Callaway finishes that suspension, he will be eligible to join quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins.
That is good news for a rebuilding Dolphins team. If Callaway can avoid further trouble and complete his improbable comeback, the Dolphins may have a star on their hands.
Antonio Callaway impressed at Florida
Antonio Callaway signed with the Florida Gators out of high school and quickly showed off, catching 35 passes for 678 yards and four touchdowns as a true freshman.
Callaway increased his numbers to 54 catches and 721 yards in 2016, although his yards per catch dipped from 19.4 to 13.4. Florida suspended Callway for the 2017 season because of his role in an illegal credit card scheme.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Callaway and six teammates agreed to enter a pretrial intervention program that would dismiss the third-degree felony fraud charges.
Callaway was also suspended in 2016 following an accusation of sexual assault, although he was later cleared of any wrongdoing.
Off-field issues have hurt Callaway’s NFL career
Antonio Callaway’s off-field issues at Florida dropped him to the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Cleveland swooped Callaway up with the 105th overall pick and he immediately impressed in training camp. Callaway turned 43 catches as a rookie into 586 yards and five touchdowns.
It wasn’t a perfect season — Callaway dropped six passes — but he showed enough to raise optimism about his future in Cleveland. Unfortunately for Callaway and the Browns, that optimism took a hit following his August 2019 suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Callaway caught eight passes for 89 yards in four games last year, but Cleveland cut him in November for showing up late to meetings and team practices.
At the time of his release, Callaway also faced a 10-game suspension for using a tainted CBD product.
Antonio Callaway can complete his comeback with the Dolphins
After a brief stint in the XFL, Antonio Callaway recently returned to the NFL when he signed with the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad.
The NFL recently announced Callaway will be eligible to play when his team plays seven games in 2020. If Callaway stays with the Dolphins, that would make him eligible for a November matchup with Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams in Miami.
Callaway doesn’t turn 24 until January 9. Miami is the perfect place for Callaway to revive his career, especially as the team inches closer to contending in the post-Tom Brady AFC East Division.
If Miami is in the playoff race come November, Callaway could be an interesting addition for whoever is under center, whether it is Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa.
After that, the rest is up to Callaway, including making sure he doesn’t become the next Josh Gordon.