BEREA, Ohio -- Caleb Brantley, the controversial sixth-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, is eager to prove those who doubt his character are wrong.
Brantley was regarded as a second- or third-round pick in the draft last month, but his stock fell dramatically because he allegedly hit a 120-pound woman in the face and knocked her unconscious at a Florida bar two weeks before the draft.
Brantley is participating in the three-day rookie minicamp that began on Friday. On the advice of his attorney he did not answer questions about the incident.
"I want to do what I've shown I can do and contribute to the team," Brantley said before practice. "Hopefully, everything works out. There's definitely a chip on my shoulder. I'm just going to go out and prove everybody wrong who said bad things about me, said I have character issues and all of that. But I ain't really worried about it -- just ready to move on.
"I feel like I'm a genuine great person. 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 (at the University of Florida) can speak for that, people who know me."
Reports on whether Brantley has been formally charged differ, but according to a story on Cleveland.com the State Attorney is still reviewing the case.
"It's our job to review the information they submitted and make a formal charging decision," Florida State Attorney spokesman Darry Lloyd told the website.
Brantley knows the Browns took heat for drafting him. He said he wants to show his new employers they were right to take a chance on him.
"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."
If Brantley is cleared, the Browns might have gotten one of the best late picks of the draft.
NFLDraftScout.com rated Brantley seventh among defensive tackles in the 2017 draft, but Brantley fell like a stone in the draft. He was the 12th defensive tackle drafted with pick 185 overall.
Brantley totaled 59 tackles with the Gators in 23 games in 2015 and 2016. He would be part of a rotation that could give Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams more flexibility to use a four-man line.
"He's talented -- we all know that," coach Hue Jackson said after practice. "The things we're dealing with, we don't want to deal with those things. It's in the judicial system. It will run its course.
"We feel very comfortable about the things we know about the young man. That's why we drafted him. Hopefully everything works out the way we see it has the possibility of being. He did some good things out there today, but he has to make sure everything he does, from whenever that incident was going forward, that he does it the Cleveland Brown way. I think he will."
Executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said just minutes after drafting Brantley that the Browns are conducting their own investigation. He said there is no guarantee Brantley will be on the team.