BELLIA, Ohio (AP) — Just as his teammates started practicing, Deshawn Watson went in another direction.
Cleveland’s first quarterback started serving his long NFL Suspension for suspected sexual misconduct On Tuesday, the punishment keeping Watson out of the Browns until Oct. 10.
Watson was reserved/suspended by the commissioners list just before practice began as the Browns finalized their first 53-man roster on cutdown day. I came out of the team facility, got in my car and drove off.
He was required to leave by 4:00 p.m., pursuant to a suspension agreed in a settlement with the league on August 18.
Watson, a three-time Pro Bowler, agreed to miss 11 games, pay a $5 million fine, and undergo mandatory medical treatment and counseling before returning to the Browns. As long as he does, he’s eligible to play in Week 13 — on a road trip with the Houston Texans.
The 26-year-old was accused of sexually assaulting and harassing 20 women during a massage therapy session while playing for the Texans. He settled 23 of 24 civil lawsuits filed by women.
During the suspension, Watson is unable to contact Browns personnel.
Coach Kevin Stefanski met with Watson before the QB departed. Stefanski declined to provide details of their conversation, but said he is confident Watson will make the most of their time.
“Now that he’s out of this building, I think it’s a great opportunity for him to work on football, work on himself, and work on different things,” Stefanski said.
Stefanski declined to comment on whether Watson will remain in the Cleveland area during the ban.
“I know he won’t be here for at least a few days,” Stefanski said. I haven’t heard from him at all until October 10. I’m sure he has good plans to do a good job while away from the building. ”
Watson has always denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty shortly after agreeing to a settlement settled between the NFL and the NFL Players Association following the league’s appeal of the original six-game suspension.
Sue L. Robinson, a former federal judge appointed to handle the league’s discipline, reviewed his case and found Watson’s behavior “horrible” and “predatory.”
As long as Watson abides by league rules, he can return to the Browns’ training facility for almost half of his suspension. He will resume practice on November 14th and will be able to officially return in two weeks.
League rules allow Watson to receive treatment from the team’s medical and athletic staff when he returns. must be reserved only.
Stefanski said Watson will work with renowned quarterback trainer Quincy Avery.
Watson attended Cleveland’s first preseason game in Jacksonville, the first live action since Jan. 3, 2021, after missing out in Houston last season. By the time he plays for the Browns, who signed a $230 million fully-insured contract in March, Watson will have not played a regular-season game in 700 days.
Jacoby Brissett moves into Watson’s starting spot to try to keep the Browns competitive during the suspension. Brissett, who has started in 37 games of his career, will be backed up by Joshua Dobbs.
Brissett felt Watson take some relief that the pause had begun.
“I’m really happy he got away with it a little bit,” Brissett said. “He’s a great teammate who can come to work every day in the middle of it all.”
Note: QB Josh Rosen was the most notable player not to make the Cleveland roster. Former first-round pick Rosen signed a deal early in camp. Stefanski said the team will be signing QB to the practice team…. Rookie S D’Anthony Bell is the first undrafted rookie he has earned on Cleveland’s roster in three years.
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