If you have players on your roster who are stars or even players expected to make contributions who mess up, the preseason is the time to enact your punishment so that these guys do not miss meaningful playing time. This is what is happening in both Jacksonville and Cleveland. Jacksonville announced that Jalen Ramsey and Dante Fowler Jr. have been suspended from the team for a week due to actions in training camp this past week. Also, Antonio Callaway was punished uniquely by the Browns for his arrest earlier this summer.
Jacksonville Jaguars star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and former first round pick Dante Fowler Jr. were both suspended for a week by Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone. This suspension comes on the heels of an incident occurring Sunday in practice after Fowler and teammate Yannick Ngakoue got into a heated exchange just as the practice was coming to an end. Fowler and Ngakoue initially started the altercation on the practice field, but then it continued into the locker room. Fowler’s suspension seems to be based on his direct action in causing the incident, but Ramsey’s is due to his reaction to the incident and how the media handled it.
Ramsey begin yelling and cussing at the media for recording the incident between Fowler and Ngakoue. His behavior continued and he had to be escorted from the area by teammates and members of the Jaguars’ staff. The suspensions will start instantly meaning that both players will be away from the team during an almost meaningless period of time. Fowler is already slated to miss Week One as part of an NFL suspension stemming from a 2017 arrest.
The Cleveland Browns chose to handle Antonio Callaway’s punishment in a way that is somewhat unique. Instead of suspending or forcing the wide receiver to sit out, the Browns chose to make Callaway play. This was an interesting decision on the part of head coach Hue Jackson, who acknowledged that he wanted Callaway to play the whole game. Jackson commented after the game that there were times Callaway was making it clear he needed a break, bu his punishment was to stay in the game and not get a period of rest. Callaway was arrested earlier this summer for marijuana possession and driving on a suspended license.
However, the more troublesome, at least to the Browns, is that the organization had to find out about the charges through the media and not from Callaway himself. Callaway has a long list of run-ins with law enforcement stemming back to his playing days at the University of Florida but this did not stop the Browns from trading up to get him. Callaway’s fifty four snaps against the New York Giants were the most by a player in the 2018 preseason.
In the end, Callaway probably learned his lesson and the extra time probably helped him become more comfortable with Cleveland’s offensive objectives. On the other hand, this decision by Hue Jackson may meet some criticism in a period of time where football players around the country are tragically losing their life to heat stroke and dehydration. Callaway’s role with the Browns is now increasingly important with the trade of Corey Coleman and absence of Josh Gordan. Callaway finished the game with three catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.