Ex-Browns WR Antonio Callaway Signs Contract with XFL's Tampa Bay Vipers

Blake SchusterContributor IIJanuary 16, 2020

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway warms-up before an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Former Cleveland Browns wideout Antonio Callaway is leaving the NFL for the up-start XFL.

The XFL's Tampa Bay Vipers announced the acquisition of the former Florida Gator via waivers on Thursday:

Two underachieving years with the Browns ended with the former fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft suspended for the final seven games of the 2019 season, as well as the first three games in the 2020 regular season, for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse. The Browns eventually cut Callaway, 22, in November.

In 20 games with the Browns—including 13 starts—Callaway tallied 51 receptions on 94 targets for 675 yards and five touchdowns, though he only played four games in 2019. He was lauded for his speed (4.41 40-yard dash) despite not being the biggest receiver at 5'11" and 200 pounds. 

The wideout has a long history of off-field issues. At Florida, he was suspended in 2016 while being investigated for sexual assault, but he was found not responsible in a Title IX hearing presided over by a Florida booster. Rather than returning to the team, in December 2017 he declared for the NFL Draft.

In August 2018, Callaway was cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license during a late-night traffic stop in Strongsville, Ohio. 

Four days later, the league suspended the wideout for the first four games of the 2019 season for violating the policy on substances of abuse. The league later suspended him for 10 games for a second failed drug test—which Callaway maintains was due to a CBD product he was using for pain relief that was "tainted" with THC. 

In Tampa Bay, Callaway reunites with a few college teammates including tight end DeAndre Goolsby and defensive lineman Cece Jefferson.

The XFL season is slated to kick off Sunday, February 9. 

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