Wide receiver Antonio Callaway's on-field talent is probably only equaled by his off-field troubles during his time leading up to the NFL — the credit card fraud, the Title IX investigation, the failed drug test at the Combine.
Callaway, a Miami native and former standout at Booker T. Washington, is likely on a tight leash as he makes his way to the NFL.
Luckily, one of the top receivers in the league — and a fellow Miami native — has taken Callaway under his wing.
What started as a few exchanged messages on Twitter in early April between six-time Pro Bowler Antonio Brown and Callaway has quickly turned into a long-lasting relationship.
"[Callaway] is trying to show Antonio that there's a difference in him," Callaway's agent, Miami-based Malki Kawa, told ESPN. "And all the kids [Brown] talks to, he can tell them he was a troubled guy, too — 'I've had my struggles, but look what I'm doing, look how my life has changed for the better, the fruits of my labor.' He shows young players this is attainable, this is reachable."
Brown was at Callaway's draft party and posted a photo to Instagram on Saturday after he became the newest Cleveland Brown.
The caption: "Not about the start it’s all about the finish. ... we jus getting started ... proud of you @callaway81_ #CallGod
And if Callaway's off-field troubles are indeed behind him, he has the potential to be a top receiver in the league. He’s a speedy wide receiver who is a threat in the passing game and can be invaluable as a punt returner. He’s the only player in Gators history to score a touchdown five different ways (receiving, rushing, passing, kickoff return and punt return). In his Florida career, Callaway caught 89 passes for 1,399 yards and seven touchdowns and returned two punts for touchdowns as a freshman.
Callaway's 4.41-second 40-yard dash was tied for the third fastest at the Combine this year, behind just LSU's D.J. Chark (4.34) and South Florida's Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4.37).
"We have done extensive, I mean extensive background work here," Browns general manager John Dorsey said after Cleveland selected Callaway. "We've actually had to go down to Gainesville. We've actually had people go to certain areas just to find out all about the specifics of the situation and we feel very good about where we are and where he is and where those things you were talking, what levels they're at. I feel very comfortable, we are, to make a move like this."