Florida Gators' Caleb Brantley falls to Cleveland Browns in sixth round
Former Florida Gators defensive lineman Caleb Brantley was drafted Saturday by the Browns with the first pick of the sixth round, even as he faces a criminal investigation into a complaint that he punched a woman and knocked her unconscious earlier this month.
Brantley, who spent part of his childhood in Winter Haven before moving to Crescent City, was regarded as an early-round pick after earning second-team all-SEC honors as a redshirt junior. He had 31 tackles (9 ½ for a loss) and was the Gators' most disruptive player on UF's line.
But his draft stock took a twist when he was involved in an early-morning fight near a Gainesville bar on April 13.
The facts remain in dispute and are the subject of an investigation by the State Attorney's Office.
The initial investigation by the Gainesville Police Department considered Brantley the victim. The subsequent report accused Brantley of punching a woman, UF student Chelsea Austin, in the face and knocking her unconscious. That led police to recommend a misdemeanor battery charge.
Brantley's attorneys have said that he tried to get Austin out of his space after she punched him, and a security guard said in a sworn affidavit that Brantley pushed her away (but not to the ground) after she punched him in the mouth.
Austin's legal team said Brantley knocked her to the ground, and her injuries still require medical treatment.
"This may be something we don't get comfortable with," Browns executive vice-president of football operations Sashi Brown said Saturday.
"We will continue to investigate on our end, and provided we can get comfortable, we'll keep him on the roster. If we can't, we'll move on."