Hue Jackson: Antonio Callaway Played Majority of Browns vs. Giants as Punishment

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2018

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway (11) runs away from New York Giants' Orion Stewart (45) and Tae Davis (58) for a touchdown during the second half of a preseason NFL football game Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson used preseason playing time as a punishment for one player Thursday.   

According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Jackson made rookie wide receiver Antonio Callaway play a majority of the Browns' preseason opener against the New York Giants as retribution for his off-field issues.

"I was trying to make him play the whole game if we could," Jackson said. "I didn't want him to come out."

On Tuesday, Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland reported Callaway was cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. Callaway did not tell Jackson about the citation before Grossi's report came out.

"Because that was part of the consequence of what he'd been through, and he knows it," Jackson continued, per Ulrich. "That's what it was. Either you sit him or make him play. I thought it was better to make him play, make him play as long as he could. There were a couple times he kept waving to come out. We said, 'No, stay in there.'"

Callaway, a fourth-round pick out of the University of Florida, was on the field for 78 percent of Cleveland's offensive plays in the 20-10 victory, according to Ulrich.

The rookie receiver tallied three catches on seven targets for a team-high 87 yards and a touchdown. His score came when he broke free from the defense on a 54-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give Cleveland some breathing room.

The Browns could use a productive season from Callaway alongside veteran Jarvis Landry, as they otherwise have some questions about their receiver depth. On July 23, Josh Gordon tweeted he wouldn't start training camp with the team because of his treatment program, and Cleveland traded Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills last week.

Callaway suffered a rib injury during his extensive playing time Thursday, but Jackson said it was only a minor setback, according to Ulrich.