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  1. Sports
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Former Gator Antonio Callaway’s Vipers season ends before it starts

The former University of Florida wide receiver’s season ends after suffering leg injury in practice Wednesday.
Former Florida Gator Antonio Callaway is looking for a fresh start in the XFL with the Tampa Bay Vipers. (Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Vipers) [Tampa Bay Vipers]

TAMPA — Antonio Callaway’s attempt to revive his football career this year in the new XFL ended before it really began as the former Gators wide receiver was placed on injured reserve by the Vipers on Thursday evening.

Callaway, who was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay two weeks ago, was carted off the field during Wednesday's practice at Plant City Stadium with a lower leg injury. Further specifics of the injury itself are unknown.

“Antonio came here focused, working hard to make the team," Vipers coach Marc Trestman said in a statement released by the team. "He did everything that we asked him to. He was engaging with the players and came here to work and get himself ready to play. We were excited to have him with us."

Related: As his XFL debut nears, Quinton Flowers yearns to give USF fans an encore performance

Callaway, whose college career at Florida began with promise but ended with multiple suspensions following marijuana possession, a sexual assault accusation (which he was later cleared of) and involvement in the a credit card scandal, also had a short NFL career, lasting less than two seasons with the Browns after Cleveland cut ties in November after Callaway was late for meetings and practices.

Because he was a late addition to the Vipers roster, Trestman said Callaway still had some adjusting to do, but the team saw him as a potential impact player as a receiver and return man.

The Vipers open their season on Feb. 9 on the road against the New York Guardians. Their home opener will be Feb. 22 against the Houston Roughnecks at Raymond James Stadium.

Related: Will this time be different for Antonio Callaway?

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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