Suspended WR Antonio Callaway reportedly signs with agent, ending Gators career
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Well, one of the most persistent questions from Florida fans has been answered.
There hasn’t been a week since the Gators suspended nine players in August for their involvement in a credit card fraud scam that somebody hasn’t asked when those players, specifically wide receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett, will return to the team.
Let’s get right to the details in the latest Gators Mailbag Question of the Day …
Dan T. asks … “Honest opinion about Callaway returning to the program after they lift the suspension?”
Roger K. asks … “What are the odds that Jordan Scarlett and Antonio Callaway are at spring football?”
It was reported on Twitter by Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com on Thursday that Callaway has signed with Mel Bratton of the MB5 Sports Group.
That means Callaway’s tumultuous time with the Florida Gators is over and he’ll try to land with an NFL team during or after the draft this spring.
— Neil Stratton (@InsideTheLeague) December 7, 2017
In answering questions about Callaway’s future in this forum, I’ve consistently said I thought it highly unlikely he would be given another chance at Florida or that a new coaching staff would want to take on the baggage and questions that would come with welcoming the oft-troubled receiver back onto the team.
His repeated off-the-field headaches had piled up. There was the university’s Title IX investigation that cleared him of any wrongdoing related to a sexual assault allegation in December of 2015, through which his defense was that he was “so stoned” at the time in question. After being suspended and missing spring practice in 2016, he returned to the team that summer. But this past May, he was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession after being stopped in a car with a 41-year-old career criminal. Callaway eventually plead no contest to possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was given yet another chance by former head coach Jim McElwain, his staunch defender through his miscues, only to get involved in the credit card fraud scam that would ultimately cost him his junior season.
And, according to the report, it ultimately amounted to the end of his collegiate career.
Callaway was one of seven of the nine players who received pretrial intervention, effectively resulting in probation, but his path back to the field at Florida still faced obstacles at the university and football program levels.
Whether he was given indications he would not get another chance or simply decided he was ready to move on, Callaway’s rocky time with the Gators is apparently now done.
It will be interesting to see how NFL teams evaluate him as a prospect. Listed at 5-foot-10, 193 pounds on the official Florida roster, he doesn’t have great NFL size, but he was a proven playmaker in his two seasons on the field in Gainesville totaling a combined 1,399 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, two punt return touchdowns and a kickoff return for touchdown.
The NFL is full of players teams took chances on despite character concerns, and Callaway is now banking his future on the hope that at least one franchise is intrigued enough by his potential to overlook his past.
As for Scarlett, it remains to be seen if he makes the same decision as a draft-eligible junior or hopes for another chance with the Gators. His case is different, but all the players involved in the credit card fraud face uncertain futures with the program.
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