NEW YORK: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway was suspended for four games by the NFL on Friday (Saturday in Manila) for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, the club announced.
Callaway will miss the first four games of the upcoming campaign, which launches next month. He will be sidelined for contests against Tennessee, the New York Jets, the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore.
He will be able to return ahead of the Browns’ October 7 contest at San Francisco.
“I take full responsibility for my actions,” Callaway said in a statement Friday. “I made a mistake and I own that. I have taken steps to make myself better and I appreciate the Browns standing by me and supporting me during this time. I know there’s nothing I can say to regain trust. It will all be about my actions.”
The NFL’s television network reported the ban does not stem from a citation last August for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. The possession charge was dropped in January, when Callaway received a one-year probation for operating a vehicle with a suspended license, paying $911 in fines and court expenses.
The 22-year-old Floridian started in 11 of Cleveland’s 16 games last year as an NFL rookie, making 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns.
With newcomer Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry taking the starting wideout spots in Cleveland’s revamped attack, Callaway and Rashad Higgins have competed for the number three spot.
Callaway made three catches for 42 yards in a pre-season triumph Thursday over Washington.
“We’re disappointed in Antonio,” Browns general manager John Dorsey said. “He understands our expectations of him. We will continue to support him as long as he remains committed to taking advantage of the resources made available to him by our club and the league to help him become the best version of himself as a person first and foremost.”