The Browns gave up on Antonio Callaway. The NFL is going to come down hard on him again.
A person familiar with the situation said Callaway, who was released Thursday hours before Cleveland played the Pittsburgh Steelers, is facing a possible 10-game league suspension for another drug violation.
Callaway, who served a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse program earlier this season, failed another drug test, said the person who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the punishment has not been announced.
Callaway’s release by the Browns came after he was benched by first-year coach Freddie Kitchens for last Sunday’s game against Buffalo because he didn’t get to FirstEnergy Stadium on time. Earlier this week, Kitchens said he didn’t know if Callaway got the message with the discipline.
It was the last straw for Browns general manager John Dorsey, who took a chance by drafting Callaway in the fourth round last year despite a litany of off-field problems while he was at Florida.
The 22-year-old Callaway missed the first four games this season because of his league ban. He returned and caught eight passes for 89 yards in four games since his re-instatement and the Browns were holding out hope he’d mature.
That didn’t happen, so they’ve moved on.
Last year, Callaway had 43 receptions for 586 yards and five touchdowns. He talked in the preseason about putting up bigger numbers in 2019 and was confident he had put all of his off-field issues behind him.
However, he was out of shape when he arrived at training camp and his other behavior pushed the Browns to a breaking point with him.
Callaway came into the league already in the NFL’s substance-abuse program because of a diluted urine sample at the NFL combine.
With Callaway gone, Rashard Higgins will get more playing time. Higgins had been conspicuously absent from Cleveland’s game plan despite being a favorite target of quarterback Baker Mayfield a year ago.
Mayfield threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Higgins with 1:44 to go as the Browns beat the Bills 19-16 to end a four-game losing streak.
The Browns also activated rookie offensive lineman Drew Forbes from injured reserve. The sixth-round pick sustained a knee injury in Cleveland’s exhibition finale against Detroit.
Saints guard Peat out
Saints starting left guard Andrus Peat had surgery to repair a broken arm and is expected to be sidelined about six weeks, said a person familiar with the situation.
The 2018 Pro Bowl selection was injured during the first half of Sunday’s 26-9 loss to Atlanta.
Peat was New Orleans’ first-round draft choice in 2015 and has started 59 of the 64 career games he’s played.
Darnold backs coach
The Jets’ owner has Adam Gase’s back. The franchise quarterback does, too.
A day after team CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson announced the coach will remain in place for next season, Sam Darnold gave the news an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
“If everything works out like it’s supposed to and Adam is here again, that would be absolutely amazing,” Darnold said.
“Going into OTAs and knowing the whole offense, and even being able to build off things we've already done this year, it will be incredible.”
Redskins safety probed
The Redskins said they are aware of an investigation involving safety Montae Nicholson and are cooperating with authorities.
The Loudoun County (Va.) Sheriff’s office is investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman who was dropped off at a hospital by two men. TMZ reported that one of those men was Nicholson.
A team spokesman said the Redskins have “been made aware of the tragic event and extend our deepest sympathies to the family who lost a loved one.
“Our team has alerted the league office and is cooperating with local authorities. We fully support law enforcement and respect their process as they investigate the matter.”
Nicholson did not practice Thursday.
The 23-year-old missed the end of last season after being arrested and charged with assault and battery and being drunk in public in connection to an altercation. The charges were later dropped.