NFL Hot Press: Teams Have Major Off-The-Field Concerns With Callaway

Teams Have Major Off-The-Field Concerns With Callaway

Updated Aug. 29, 2017
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Over the past few seasons, scouting sources from across the league have raved about the play-making potential of Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway. The explosive Callaway jumped out to evaluators as a freshman and sophomore even though teams weren’t working on reports for him because he wasn’t  eligible for either draft. With the 2017 season just days away, scouts have been getting background information on 2018 NFL Draft prospects, and what they’ve heard on Callaway could end up being a serious weight on his draft grade. While there are some positives, team sources say there are major off-the-field issues that are going into the character section of Callaway’s draft report. 

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was a top-10 talent for the 2017 NFL Draft, but he slid to the second round of the draft mostly because teams had concerns about an entourage of gangbangers who hung around Cook. That same issue is said to be there with Callaway. Like Cook, Callaway comes from a rough background in Miami and has friends who worry NFL evaluators. Callaway was accused of a sexual assault in January 2016 as well,  but he was eventually found not responsible. 

Another big concern with sources is Callaway’s ability to avoid positive drug tests for marijuana. Callaway has been suspended repeatedly by the Gators, and NFL sources aren’t confident that Callaway can avoid that issue as a pro. Callaway is suspended for Florida’s season opener against Michigan after a May citation for marijuana possession while being the passenger in a car. The driver cited with Callaway was a 40-year-old man with a history of legal issues. 

On the positive side, scouts are putting into their reports that Callaway loves football. He is a good worker as a player, not a bad teammate, and loves to play the game. They hope that his love for the game can be enough to motivate him to avoid problems with questionable associates and drug usage when he gets into the pros, but sources aren’t confident in that positive outcome happening.

They think that Callaway is a first-round talent like Cook, Randy Gregory, Tim Williams or former Gators wideout Demarcus Robinson, but like all of those players, Callaway could be in store for a big drop because of character concerns. Team sources expect the off-the-field issues to be a massive weight on Callaway’s draft stock.