Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson decided to punish Antonio Callaway for his traffic stop last Sunday by making him play for most of Thursday’s preseason opener against the New York Giants.
“I was trying to make him play the whole game if we could,” Jackson said of the rookie wide receiver. “I did not want him to come out.”
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Callaway didn’t inform the Browns that he was cited for marijuana possession and a suspended license last week, and Jackson didn’t become aware of the incident until the news broke Tuesday. Dashcam video of the stop showed police also found bullets and a gun part in the car.
“That was part of the consequence of what he has been through, and he knows it. That is what it was. Either you sit him or make him play. I thought it was better to make him play,” Jackson said Sunday.
“Make him play as long as he could. There were a couple of times he kept waving to come out, and we said, ‘No, stay in.'”
The fourth-round pick out of Florida was limited in practice Sunday by a rib injury. Jackson indicated that Callaway likely suffered the injury in Thursday’s game.
“He tried to fight through [practice]. I am glad that he is out there trying, competing, going and catching. He has to learn that sometimes you have to play with those things a little bit. We will get through it,” Jackson said.
Callaway, who was on the field for 54 plays Thursday, finished the game with three receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown on a 54-yard pass from Baker Mayfield. After the game he told reporters that he was “doing whatever I have to do to gain my coaches’ and my teammates’ trust back. So that won’t happen again.”
Jackson said Sunday he was pleased with Callaway’s reaction to having to play most of Thursday’s game.
“He worked through it. There were times he had his hands — I am sure you saw it — he had his hands on his head like this, and he was ready to go to the sideline,” Jackson said. “We said, ‘Uh-uh, you are back in there.’ He fought through it, came out the other side of it and made some plays. That was good.”