NEW ORLEANS — Antonio Callaway's late heroics were ultimately all for not, but the rookie wide receiver showed why the Browns believe he can be a playmaker this fall and in years to come.
Callaway hauled in a 47-yard touchdown pass with 1:16 to play in Sunday's loss to the Saints, a grab that tied the game and would've given Cleveland the lead if the extra point was made.
"Those are the plays we truly believe that he can make," coach Hue Jackson said.
Indeed, it was the kind of head-turning catch that gives the Browns plenty to look forward to as it prepares to move on from star player Josh Gordon. Callaway, a fourth-round pick from Florida, will be tasked with filling that void.
"He knows the opportunity that's in front of him. He stepped up to it today in a big way," quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. "Of course, it wasn't in a winning effort by us, but he came in on a bunch of drives today and we saw this as a way of building confidence moving forward."
Without Gordon, whom the Browns intend to release Monday after six embattled seasons, Callaway is poised for a much bigger role on an offense that's off to a slow start through two games. He and three-time Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry headline a new-look receivers room that features just one player (third-year receiver Rashard Higgins) from the 2017 roster.
The Browns have also made organizational expectations clear to Callaway, who was cited last month for marijuana possession and a suspended license. Considering the team's moving pieces at the position -- Cleveland traded former first-round pick Corey Coleman to Buffalo in August -- Jackson and teammates are counting on the youngster from Miami to be the best version of himself on and off the field.
Sunday's showing gave them reason to believe he's up for the challenge.
"That was big time, big boy football and that's what we expect him to do," Landry said.
"We're going to need a lot more out him this year, just like that."