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Former players rip Hue Jackson’s “punishment” of Antonio Callaway

NBC Sports logo NBC Sports 8/14/2018 Michael David Smith
a close up of a helmet © Getty Images

When Browns rookie receiver Antonio Callaway was arrested for marijuana possession, coach Hue Jackson decided on a strange form of punishment: He made Callaway play a lot of snaps in the Browns’ first preseason game.

Jackson explained that Callaway was asking to come out because he was tired, but Jackson made him keep playing. Some former players say that’s a ridiculous way to punish a player.

“This is not a smart coach people,” Nick Hardwick wrote. “1-31 doesn’t happen by chance. Either he should’ve really punished him, or said, ‘He’s a rookie that is going to be suspended and we need to get him as many reps before then as possible,’ followed by a ‘sorry not sorry.'”

And wouldn’t a rookie trying to prove himself want a lot of playing time?

“If I’m an undrafted rookie for the browns I’m gonna make sure i get in trouble before the next game,” Danny Woodhead wrote. “Playing all game just gives you an opportunity to make the team! This isn’t a punishment this is a gift!”

Also odd is that Jackson, who was shown on Hard Knocks putting his assistant coaches in their place when they said players shouldn’t be given too much rest, said that he forced Callaway to stay in the game when Callaway was getting worn out.

And it raises questions about Callaway that he was apparently asking to come out of the preseason game and being told he couldn’t: Callaway is a rookie who should want every opportunity to prove himself. And although he played more than most players play in preseason game, he totaled just 57 snaps, which isn’t a particularly grueling workload compared to what players are often asked to do in the regular season.

Everything about Jackson’s “punishment” is strange, and it’s not surprising that some former players were left shaking their heads.

Related slideshow: Best Photos of the NFL Preseason (provided by USA Today Sports)

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