At the University of Florida, Caleb Brantley was a ferocious defensive tackle who plowed through offensive linemen and seemed to crave being double-teamed. But since leaving college early for the 2017 NFL draft, he was charged with domestic violence, tumbled from a probable second-round pick to the sixth round and has been released by the Cleveland Browns, who didn’t win a game last season.
The Redskins are intrigued by Brantley, however. And so on Monday, two days after he was cut by the Browns, he signed with Washington and was practicing with the team.
Defensive lineman Anthony Lanier II was waived to make room for Brantley.
“He was a good pass rusher and decent against the run,” Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said about Brantley, adding that the team graded him well going into the draft. “In Cleveland he got a couple sacks, got some experience, got some pass rush ability so we thought we’d bring him in for a look.”
On April 13, 2017, just two weeks before the draft, Gainesville, Fla., police charged Brantley with misdemeanor battery after a woman said the player had punched her in the face, knocking her out. Brantley told officers the woman had attacked him and he pushed her back.
A month later, Florida state attorney Bill Cervone dropped the charges, telling the Orlando Sentinel there was not enough evidence to prosecute Brantley and adding that the accuser was under age and intoxicated.
Gruden said the team knew of the arrest and the dropped charges before signing Brantley.
“Everything’s okay and he’s been in Cleveland the last couple years and there’s been no issues yet,” Gruden said. “We’ll see. We know who he is, where he’s coming from and what he’s done.”
Brantley said the Redskins were among the teams that showed the most interest when he left Florida. “It was one of the places I thought I was going to come,” he said.
When asked if he feels he has been judged by his arrest, he shook his head.
“Honestly I don’t really care because no matter what I say people are going to think what they think,” he said. “Obviously everything that happened, happened. Everything that came to light, came to light. But nobody cares about that. I’m just here to play ball.”
The Redskins also signed former Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek to their practice squad.
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