Antonio Callaway might not be eligible to play at the start of the 2020 NFL season, but if all goes according to plan, he’ll be back on a professional football field in a matter of weeks.
Originally a fourth-round draft pick of the Browns in 2018, Callaway flashed as a rookie target of Baker Mayfield, catching 43 passes for 586 yards and five touchdowns. But his tenure in Cleveland lasted less than two seasons, as the Browns in November. Callaway had been suspended for the first four games of 2019 after violating the substance-abuse policy, then spent his first week after reinstatement on the bench after reportedly showing up late to team meetings.
At the time of his release, Callaway was issued an additional 10-game suspension for a repeat drug violation — a ban that’ll end in Week 4 of 2020.
Callaway’s Browns troubles weren’t the first of his career. Once projected to be a first-round draft pick, his stock plummeted mostly to off-field concerns. The 23-year-old failed a drug test at the scouting combine and missed his entire 2017 season in college due to a team suspension.
If he suits up for the Vipers, the receiver will be back home in Florida, where he was born and raised and then played for the Gators. One of the XFL’s eight inaugural franchises, Tampa Bay is coached by Marc Trestman, who previously coached the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts and spent 2013-2014 as the Chicago Bears‘ head coach.