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NFL coach punishes player for drug violation — with extra playing time

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson punished a rookie wide receiver for a drug violation by making him play more than normal in a game. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Usually when a professional athlete is busted for drugs, he pays for the transgression by giving up playing time, if not his job.

A Cleveland Browns rookie wide receiver got a much different punishment when he was cited for marijuana possession — he played more than he had ever played in his career, according to USA Today.

"That was part of the consequence of what he had been through, and he knows it," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "Either you sit him or make him play. I thought it was better to make him play. Make him play as long as he could. There were a couple of times he kept waving to come out, and we said 'No, stay in there.'"

What did he do?

Rookie Antonio Callaway was stopped by a police officer near the Browns' training facility after failing to yield to oncoming traffic. The officer discovered that Callaway was driving with a suspended license, and had a "small amount of marijuana" under the driver's seat.

The citation was reported in the media before Callaway told the team about it.

The wide receiver has a history of issues dating back to his time at the University of Florida, where he was suspended for his final season over a credit card fraud investigation. He also failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine.

What was his 'punishment?'

As punishment for his crime, Callaway played 54 out of 63 offensive snaps during a preseason game against the New York Giants. His increased time on the field led him to catch three passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

"I was trying to make him play the whole game if we could," Jackson said afterward, seriously trying to convince a group of reporters that he had punished his player with extra playing time. "I did not want him to come out."

For reference, the league's drug policy dictates that he could have been suspended for as many as four games, depending on how his first violation was classified.

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