Cleveland Browns' wide receiver drama takes center stage on latest 'Hard Knocks'
Days before the Cleveland Browns' preseason opener, receiver Corey Coleman came into head coach Hue Jackson’s office to complain about a demotion and flippantly requested a trade.
The sequence, captured by HBO’s Hard Knocks, provided the back story of the Browns' move to trade Coleman to Buffalo earlier this month, receiving just a seventh-round pick in return.
Now we know why the Browns were so eager to move on from Coleman, just two years after he was a first-round pick.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley criticized Coleman’s effort in practice, harping on Coleman for drops, poor routes and lack of focus.
The show quickly cut to Coleman walking into head coach Hue Jackson’s office. “Why am I running second team? That [expletive]’s crazy to me. If y’all don’t want me to play, why don’t you just trade me?” Coleman said.
After the opening credits, a Hard Knocks crew was shotgun in Coleman’s vehicle as Coleman drove to the Browns’ facility to clean out his locker before catching a flight to Buffalo.
And yet the Coleman trade was just part of the wide receiver drama in Tuesday’s second episode of Hard Knocks, which is chronicling the Browns’ preseason.
HBO received police dash camera footage of an officer pulling over and citing rookie receiver Antonio Callaway with misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. Cameras then closely followed Callaway through practice the next day as he kept the citation secret from his coaches. Both Jackson and Haley could tell something was off with Callaway. “You look like a puppy dog,” Haley said.
The lie might have been worse than the initial offense. Jackson and general manager John Dorsey seemed more disappointed that Callaway didn’t call them first, and that he had already messed up, just months after the Browns took a chance on drafting a player with a history of off-field issues while in college at the University of Florida.
Callaway apologized to the team, and Jackson told the rest of the Browns that he believed Callaway’s story that a friend had left a used marijuana cigarette in his care before the vehicle was shipped to Callaway to Ohio.
“Everyone gets one mulligan, and it better be a mulligan when you’re telling the [expletive] truth,” Jackson said. “Then I’ve got your back. If you’re not, I’m done with you.”
Unlike Coleman, Callaway was able to play his way to some redemption. He played every offensive snap in the Browns’ preseason opener, and made two impressive catches — a two-drag catch on the sideline, and a catch-and-run 54-yard touchdown.
There should be more receiver intrigue to come, with free agent Dez Bryant scheduled to visit the Browns next week.
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Other notable moments from the second episode of Hard Knocks:
Jackson gets tough: Jackson showed some bite as he was critical of players’ practice habits. Jackson went on two expletive-filled rants, one of the field and one in the meeting room, telling his players they didn’t “look like a team that’s hungry.” Jackson’s storyline in the premiere episode last week revolved around him dealing with his mother’s death, so this was a look at a harder side of Jackson, who might be coaching for his job this season.
Quarterback watch: The quarterbacks weren’t the focus this week, but both Tyrod “Don’t call me Tie-rod” Taylor and Baker Mayfield had good moments. Taylor’s highlight came when he told Jackson to show the team the video footage of players slacking at practice to send a message. For Mayfield, he shined on the field during the preseason opener, when he threw a pair of touchdown passes and impressed his coaches and teammates who were watching from the sideline.
Best quote: So far there has been very little of 2017 No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett, though he did get one short segment in the second episode, focused on a quiet moment spent journaling. “I was a boy who liked to write before I was a man who liked to hit people,” Garrett said.
Underdog alert: Who isn’t rooting for tight end Devon Cajuste after meeting the journeyman tight end and his family this week?
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Lindsay Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.
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