CLEVELAND — Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said wide receiver Antonio Callaway’s benching was a one-game punishment.
Callaway didn’t play in Sunday’s 19-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills after being a surprising healthy scratch despite quarterback Baker Mayfield saying the receiver had been included in the game plan.
Kitchens did not divulge his reasons for sitting Callaway, who was suspended four games earlier this season by the NFL for violating the league’s drug policy.
On a conference call Monday, Kitchens said he wasn’t confident the 22-year-old Callaway would respond to the discipline.
“I don’t know if he got the message or not,” Kitchens said. “But I’m not wavering.”
Kitchens said any conversations with Callaway will remain “between Antonio and I” but added the benching “was only for yesterday.”
The benching gave more playing time to wide receiver Rashard Higgins, who caught a 7-yard touchdown pass with 1:44 left as the Browns snapped a four-game losing streak.
Kitchens was asked if he was disappointed or frustrated that he had to penalize Callaway, given his somewhat checkered history in college and during his short time as a pro. The Browns have been patient with him.
“I always want our players to make good choices,” Kitchens said. “I did what I felt like I needed to do. It’s over.”
Callaway has eight catches for 89 yards in four games this season. As a rookie, the second-round pick in 2018 from Florida had 43 receptions for 586 yards and five touchdowns.