Antonio Callaway didn't mince words Monday.
The soft-spoken rookie wide receiver knows Sunday's trade of Corey Coleman clears a path for him to pick up even more first-team repetitions. Asked if he was up for the challenge, Callaway nodded.
"Yes, sir," he said.
Through nine training camp practices, Callaway has looked exactly how he was described by general manager John Dorsey shortly after the Browns selected him early in the fourth round. Off-field issues torpedoed Callaway's draft stock, but Cleveland believed its support system would get the best out of a player Dorsey believed would have been the first or second receiver selected in the draft if it were based just on overall talent and ability.
"I just want you all to know one thing: he will understand what it means to be a Cleveland Brown," Dorsey said in April. "Once he understands 100 percent what it means to be a Cleveland Brown, the Cleveland Browns will be 100 percent committed to making this man a football player."
A little less than two weeks into camp, Callaway is poised to have a major role in a Browns receiving corps that is currently without three players who, just a few months ago, were projected to have significant responsibilities. Along with Coleman's departure, the Browns know they won't have Ricardo Louis, who led all receivers in yards last season, because of a season-ending neck injury and are uncertain about the return of Josh Gordon, who did not report to training camp.
Callaway, though, has not earned the opportunity by default.
Despite missing all of the final season of his college football career because of off-field issues and most of OTAs and minicamp because of injuries, Callaway has repeatedly impressed during training camp. He's gotten the best out of most of the team's cornerbacks in one-on-one drills and delivered a long catch with the first-team offense during Saturday's mock game.
Callaway said he views the trade of Coleman as a vote of confidence for what he's done so far. Now, it's time to step it up even more.
"It helped open the door for me to more opportunities to show what I can do at the next level for the first time," Callaway said. "It gave me confidence to push harder and do the extra."
That hard work hasn't gone unnoticed. The leader of Cleveland's receivers room, three-time Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry, has noticed Callaway's commitment to improve at every practice, even as the Browns move him all around to a number of different receiver spots.
Landry also didn't sugarcoat what's going to be expected from Callaway moving forward.
"Regardless if you are a rookie or 10-year player or whatever, you are expected to come here and perform," Landry said. "That is what we want out of every single guy, so it is too late to think it is not. So hopefully he comes in and steps up; and we need him to."