Antonio Callaway’s misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession stemming from an Aug. 5 traffic stop in Strongsville was dismissed last month as part of a plea agreement.
The Browns wide receiver had a trial scheduled for Friday in Berea Municipal Court canceled after the drug charge and two other charges were resolved on Jan. 25, when Callaway’s attorney, Kevin Spellacy, appeared in court on his behalf.
Callaway also pleaded guilty to driving without a valid operator’s license on Aug. 5 and speeding on Oct. 14 in Strongsville, where he was cited for driving 58 mph in a 35 mph zone. He originally pleaded not guilty to all three charges.
Callaway paid a total of $911 in fines and court costs, according to court records. He received one year of monitored probation for the license offense.
“He doesn’t report anywhere, he’s not tested, none of that stuff [as a result of his probation],” Spellacy said by phone.
The Aug. 5 incident and Callaway’s failure to inform the Browns about it before media did became a story line on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” putting Callaway in the national spotlight about three months after Browns General Manager John Dorsey traded up to draft the University of Florida product who has a history of off-field baggage.
Strongsville Police Officer Eric Schubert wrote in an incident report he stopped Callaway at 2:59 a.m. Aug. 5 near SouthPark Mall for failing to yield to oncoming traffic and found a small amount of marijuana under the driver’s seat. Schubert reported Callaway also had a suspended license. A charge of driving under suspension was later amended to driving without a valid operator’s license.
Callaway told police — and, days later, the Browns — his car had just been shipped from Florida to Ohio and he didn’t know marijuana was in it. One of the officers on the scene of the traffic stop could be heard on a dash cam video saying Callaway “claimed his little brother who smokes dope was using the car.”
Spellacy said police found 0.05 gram of marijuana, it didn’t belong to Callaway and Callaway didn’t know it was in the car. Spellacy also provided the prosecutor with documentation to show the car came from Florida via transport a few days before his client was pulled over.
“The prosecutor and the police officers finally came around and agreed that [Callaway’s] version of events was very plausible,” Spellacy said.
Callaway could still be disciplined under the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Asked where Callaway stands with the league considering the marijuana charge has been dismissed, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy replied via email, “The matter remains under review.”
A failed drug test last year as a result of a diluted sample at the NFL Scouting Combine put Callaway into the league’s substance-abuse program. Players in stage one of the program who have a violation are subject to a fine equaling three-seventeenths of their base salary and entrance into stage two of the program upon notification by the medical director. Callaway’s 2018 base salary was $480,000, so if he were to receive a fine, it could be for $84,705.
Callaway, 22, started 11 of the 16 games in which he appeared as a rookie and caught 43 passes for 586 yards and a team-high five touchdowns.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.