BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Caleb Brantley slid from a second-round projection all the way to the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft because of an off-the-field incident in which he was charged with simple assault.
But despite the charges, which he could not address when speaking to the media at Browns rookie camp in Berea over the weekend, Brantley explained that portrayals in the media are not accurate when it comes to his character.
“I ain't going to do nothing different,” Brantley said. “I don't think I'm a bad guy at all. The media portrays me a certain way, but I'm just going to be myself, regular Caleb Brantley. I'm a team guy just out here doing what I love -- football.”
On April 13, just two weeks before the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-3, 300-pound Brantley was accused of knocking out and causing dental damage to a woman at a Florida bar. The woman in the alleged incident was listed as 5-foot-6 and 120 pounds.
On April 21, Brantley was officially charged with simple battery by the Gainesville Police Department. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday, April 24.
“I feel like I’m a genuine great person,” Brantley said. “I’m just out here playing football, the game that I love, trying to take care of my mom and my brother. Obviously, everyone’s got their opinions on social media, stuff like that, but my teammates can speak for that, people who know me.”
In 13 games as a sophomore during the 2015 season, Brantley registered 29 total tackles, including 6.5 for lost yardage.
During his final season with the Gators, Brantley started 11 games and played in all 13, totaling 31 tackles and leading the team with 9.5 tackles for lost yardage, including 2.5 quarterback sacks. He was credited with three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
Should Brantley remain with the team after the off-the-field incident gets resolved, he plans on repaying their faith with the kind of productivity he displayed at Florida.
“I feel like I have a responsibility to come out here and work hard with my teammates considering everything that's going on outside,” Brantley said. “As far as the Browns taking heat and everything like that, I really appreciate them taking a chance on me and I just really appreciate the opportunity.
“I'd love to be coached by Gregg Williams. Obviously, he took Aaron Donald in the first round a few years ago and I want to be molded by this group of guys, this staff. I feel like I'd be a great fit next to Myles Garrett, Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins. That would be a dream come true. I just hope everything works out.”