Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks with head coach Kevin Stefanski after minicamp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in Canton.

Browns Hof 4

Deshaun Watson on debut: ‘Don’t know when it’s going to come back’

Deshaun Watson won his debut with the Cleveland Browns last week in Houston. The result was one of few positives for the quarterback in his first game in 700 days.

Watson completed 12 of 22 passes, was intercepted in the end zone and totaled 131 yards without a TD drive.

“I don’t know when it’s going to come back,” Watson said Thursday. “I don’t know if it was going to be last week, this week. My job is to just keep getting better and when it clicks, it clicks, and everyone will feel that.”

Suspended for 11 games this season after sitting out all of 2021 as a member of the Texans, Watson’s reputation, timing, mechanics, conditioning and confidence all need to be rebuilt, in his own estimation.

More than two dozen women accused Watson of sexual assault and sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions. The NFL investigation found Watson’s behavior to be predatory and intentional, leading to the ban under the league’s personal conduct policy. He was also fined $5 million.

With that backdrop and the implied pressure of a fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Browns, Cleveland improved to 5-7 in Houston and is still alive in the AFC playoff picture.

“The last week, it was a lot. The anticipation to be back on the field. The anticipation of going back to my former team. The anticipation, playing against former teammates and being in front of a crowd that used to cheer for me at the time,” Watson said. “All that stuff was definitely, it was a lot. I’m human. So, I definitely have things running through my mind. I’m glad that’s out the way, I’m glad we got the win. I’m just trying to look forward to this week. It’s going to be a hostile environment in Cincinnati. It’s going to be fun and we just got to go out there and just make sure we execute the game plan.”

The teams in front of the Browns in the AFC North — the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4) and Baltimore Ravens (8-4) — are up next on the schedule.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski, also the offensive play-caller for the Browns, said there is a timing and connectivity element for Watson’s teammates that will come with more reps.

“Deshaun, that is his first start so he got the first one out of the way, and I know he is looking forward to turning the page, really diving into Cincinnati, understanding this defense, putting together a plan and going out here and working on it this week,” Stefanski said. “I think that really becomes our focus.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) scrambles against the Houston Texans in the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson rusty but Browns beat lowly Texans

Propelled by three non-offensive touchdowns, the Cleveland Browns overcame a rusty effort from Deshaun Watson in his anticipated return to defeat the Houston Texans 27-14 on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

Watson was making his first start in 700 days after sitting out the 2021 season prior to serving an 11-game suspension he received after being accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women.

Following his offseason trade from Houston to Cleveland, he delivered an erratic showing, completing 12 of 22 attempts for 131 yards plus a red-zone interception. The Browns (5-7) recorded their first points on offense with 9:36 remaining in the game when Cade York capped an 11-play, 42-yard drive with a 43-yard field goal that gave Cleveland a 17-8 lead.

Prior to the York field goal, the Browns constructed their lead on Donovan Peoples-Jones’ 76-yard punt return for a touchdown with 3:41 left in the first half and a 4-yard fumble return for a score by Denzel Ward at the 10:10 mark of the third quarter. And almost immediately following the York kick, Tony Fields II returned an interception of Texans quarterback Kyle Allen 16 yards for a touchdown on a pass deflected by Chase Winovich.

The Texans (1-10-1) suffered their seventh consecutive loss as a byproduct of critical errors and offensive ineptitude. Allen produced a third turnover in addition to the fumble returned by Ward and Fields’ pick-6, with his deflected pass on the first play of scrimmage picked off by John Johnson III.

Houston amassed 162 total yards in the first half, with 73 coming on a drive that stalled at the Cleveland 1-yard line. The Texans punted to conclude five first-half possessions.

However, Houston secured a 5-0 lead with Ka’imi Fairbairn booting a 44-yard field goal with 8:02 left in the first quarter and Roy Lopez tackled Nick Chubb in the end zone for a safety at the 11:53 left in the second.

The Texans stalled in the red zone after Desmond King II recovered a fumble by Browns receiver Anthony Schwartz at the Cleveland 38-yard line. Houston sputtered again despite four snaps from inside the Cleveland 5, a drive initiated when rookie safety Jalen Pitre picked off Watson in the end zone and returned that interception 29 yards to the Houston 26.

The Texans finished 1 for 4 in the red zone and 1 for 12 on third downs. Allen tossed a 6-yard scoring pass to Nico Collins with 1:57 left to play.

–Field Level Media

Deshaun Watson is serving an 11-game suspension.

Syndication Akron Beacon Journal

Browns QB Deshaun Watson ‘focusing on football’

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson spoke to reporters on Thursday for the first time since returning from his 11-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Watson was quick to express his excitement to return to the field and his appreciation for his teammates and the Browns organization as well as the fans in Cleveland.

“I understand that you guys have a lot of questions, but with my legal team and my clinical team, there’s only football questions that I can really address at this time,” Watson said.

Watson, 27, was suspended and fined $5 million in August for off-field conduct violations related to “predatory” behavior involving more than two dozen women who alleged sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.

On Thursday, Watson deflected several questions that dealt with matters off the field. His primary focus, he said, was his on-field return on Sunday against the Houston Texans, the team that selected him with the top overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and ultimately traded him to the Browns last March.

He declined to address whether he had learned anything from the league-mandated counseling that accompanied his suspension.

“That’s more in that phase of clinical and legal stuff,” Watson said. “I’ve been advised to stay away from that and keep that personal. … I’m focusing on football. That’s my main focus is football and preparing to be the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns so I can execute the game plan to try to get a win this Sunday.”

The Browns (4-7) are 1-4 on the road heading into Sunday’s game against the Texans (1-9-1).

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Watson has not played in a game since Jan. 3, 2021.

Watson completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns with 36 interceptions in four seasons with Houston. He led the league with 4,823 passing yards in 2020. He also has rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 scores in his career, and he owns a 28-25 regular-season record as a starter.

–Field Level Media

Deshaun Watson is serving an 11-game suspension.

Syndication Akron Beacon Journal

Judge orders new Deshaun Watson accuser to reveal name

A judge in Harris County (Texas) District Court ruled Monday that the latest plaintiff suing Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for sexual misconduct must shed her Jane Doe pseudonym and reveal her name.

The plaintiff has 24 hours to comply with the order and amend her petition, per Judge Rabeea Sultan Collier’s ruling in an emergency hearing.

The new accuser, a massage therapist, claims Watson pressured her into a sex act during a massage session in December 2020. Unlike Watson’s previous accusers, she is not represented by attorney Tony Buzbee.

“It’s taken her some time to come forward,” attorney Anissah Nguyen told Fox 8 WJW in Cleveland. “She’s doing it for herself and other women who have been victimized by Deshaun Watson. She knows that by speaking out she is going to have to deal with the hard conversations.”

Per ESPN Monday, another attorney for Jane Doe, Michelle Kornblith, said she was willing to provide Watson’s camp with her client’s name but not make it public.

When Watson was facing the bulk of his lawsuits in 2021, two judges ruled that the plaintiffs must amend their petitions to include their names for the case to proceed. Twenty-two complied and one dropped her suit.

Watson is currently serving an 11-game suspension for off-field conduct violations related to “predatory” behavior involving more than two dozen women who alleged sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior. He was also assessed a $5 million fine.

Watson settled 23 of 24 lawsuits against him during the summer.

–Field Level Media

Aug 27, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA;  Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) gives a thumbs up to fans before the game between the Browns and the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

New sexual misconduct lawsuit filed against Deshaun Watson

A new lawsuit — with new lawyers — has been filed against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, claiming an incident of sexual misconduct that allegedly took place in December 2020.

The lawsuit was filed in Harris County District Court (Texas) on Thursday. The plaintiff’s attorney is not Tony Buzbee, who brought 24 lawsuits against Watson, 23 of which have been settled.

The new accuser, a massage therapist, claims Watson pressured her into a sex act during a massage session in December 2020.

“It’s taken her some time to come forward,” attorney Anissah Nguyen told Fox 8 WJW in Cleveland. “She’s doing it for herself and other women who have been victimized by Deshaun Watson. She knows that by speaking out she is going to have to deal with the hard conversations.”

Watson is currently serving an 11-game suspension for off-field conduct violations related to “predatory” behavior involving more than two dozen women who alleged sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior. He was also assessed a $5 million fine.

The Browns acquired Watson via trade from the Houston Texans and signed him to a five-year, $230 million contract in the offseason. When the suspension ends, Watson ostensibly would be eligible make his regular-season debut with the Browns in Week 13 at Houston in December. It’s unclear how the new accusation will affect Watson’s return to the field.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson checks the balls before an NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Brownspre 2

Suspended Browns QB Deshaun Watson returns to training facility

Suspended Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is beginning his way back to the team, allowed to return to the team facility in Berea, Ohio, on Monday for the first time since his 11-game suspension was levied.

Watson was suspended Aug. 30 for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct as he received treatment from about two dozen massage therapists.

NFL Network reported that Watson indeed showed up to the facility on Monday.

Under the terms of the suspension, he can work with the medical staff, meet with non-football staff and attend meetings. He also is allowed to take part in workouts with the strength and conditioning staff, meet one-on-one with head coach Kevin Stefanski, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt or quarterbacks coach Drew Petzing.

Watson, 27, is not allowed to participate in group workouts, attend practices, team events or games or talk to the media.

“We’ll work through what we’re allowed to do with him for the foreseeable future,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said during a press conference on Monday. “I believe he’s in the meeting rooms with our guys and he’s in there with the guys right now, which is great for him and us to have him back with his teammates. I know he can’t be out on the field and working out just yet with guys, so we’ll just take that one day by day.”

Some restrictions will be lifted on Nov. 14, when he can resume practicing with the Browns. He’s eligible to play Dec. 4 at Houston, where he played four seasons with the Texans.

The Browns, with veteran Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, are off to a 2-3 start, tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for second place in the AFC North.

Cleveland acquired Watson via trade from the Texans for a bounty of draft picks — including three first-rounders — and signed him to a five-year, $230 million contract in March. Watson reached financial settlements with 23 of the 24 massage therapists who filed civil suits against him.

Watson has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns with 36 interceptions. He led the league with 4,823 passing yards in 2020. He also has rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 scores in his career, and he owns a 28-25 regular-season record as a starter.

Meanwhile, in Houston, the Texans announced Monday that fans could trade in their old Watson jerseys, as well as those of select other former players, for 44 percent off a new jersey at the team’s shop this week.

–Field Level Media

Aug 21, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew (10) throws the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Gardner Minshew helps Eagles edge Browns

Gardner Minshew completed 14 of 17 passes for 142 yards to help the visiting Philadelphia Eagles beat the Cleveland Browns 21-20 Sunday in a preseason game.

Kenneth Gainwell led the Eagles (1-1) in rushing with 46 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries, and Deon Cain had team highs of five catches for 66 yards.

For the Browns (1-1), Joshua Dobbs started at quarterback and completed 14 of 20 throws for 141 yards, and backup Josh Rosen was 7-of-20 for 88 yards.

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was suspended for 11 games last week for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy amid accusations of sexual misconduct, did not play.

Even though Watson’s suspension doesn’t begin until Aug. 30, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Thursday the quarterback won’t play again in the preseason. He started in the Browns’ 24-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 12 but completed just one of five passes for 7 yards.

Watson will be eligible to return to the Browns on Dec. 4 for their Week 13 game against the Houston Texans, his former team. He will be permitted to begin practicing again on Nov. 14.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 smiles during the first quarter of a preseason NFL game Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Cleveland Browns defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-13. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 Cleveland Browns First Home Pre Season Scrimmage Second Scrimmage Preseason

Browns’ playoff odds lengthen after Deshaun Watson suspension

The Cleveland Browns’ odds to win Super Bowl LVII took a hit following Thursday’s announcement that quarterback Deshaun Watson will miss the first 11 games.

Watson, represented by the NFLPA, and the NFL settled on the punishment after the league appealed an initial six-game suspension that was rendered from an investigation into the allegations.

The initial suspension was handed down by former U.S. district Judge Sue L. Robinson, picked by the league and the NFLPA as an independent disciplinary officer.

Several sportsbooks told Field Level Media that their oddsmakers quickly adjusted the Browns’ futures odds following the announcement.

Cleveland’s Super Bowl odds lengthened from +3000 to +4000 at BetRivers, from +3300 to +5000 at PointsBet and from +2500 to +3000 at WynnBet. The Browns did remain unchanged at +3000 at FanDuel.

With the Browns having a bye in Week 9, they will be without Watson until at least Week 13 in December — when Cleveland travels to play his former team in Houston.

Veteran journeyman Jacoby Brissett is slated to start in Watson’s place until then.

That figures to make reaching the playoffs in the highly competitive AFC a real challenge, much less playing in the Super Bowl.

The Browns moved from +275 to win the AFC North to +400 at BetRivers, where their odds to win the AFC Championship also lengthened from +1600 to +2000.

WynnBet shifted the Browns’ conference title odds from +1200 to +1500 and their division title odds from +275 to +3000.

PointsBet adjusted a number of futures markets for both Cleveland and Watson:
–Super Bowl: +3300 to +5000
–AFC Championship: +1800 to +2500
–Over 8.5 wins: -110 to +135
–Make Playoffs: +150 to +200
–Deshaun Watson MVP +10000 to +25000
–Deshaun Watson Comeback POY: +10000 to +25000

In the Browns’ 24-13 preseason victory over Jacksonville last week, Watson completed just one of his five pass attempts for 7 yards.

Watson, 26, said in a press conference following the NFL announcement on Thursday that he was ready to move forward with his career.

“I’ve always been able to stand on my innocence and always said I never assaulted or disrespected anyone,” Watson said Thursday. “But at the same point I have to continue to push forward with my life and career.”

Cleveland acquired Watson from Houston over the offseason and signed him to a five-year, $230 million contract.

“I’m grateful that the disciplinary process has ended and extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organization,” Watson said in a statement. “I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made.

“My focus going forward is on working to become the best version of myself on and off the field and supporting my teammates however possible while I’m away from the team. I’m excited about what the future holds for me in Cleveland.”

Watson has completed 67.8 percent of his career passes for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns with 36 interceptions. He led the league with 4,823 passing yards in 2020. He also has rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 scores while posting a 28-25 regular-season record as a starter.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 looks on during the first quarter of a preseason NFL game Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Cleveland Browns defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-13. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 Cleveland Browns First Home Pre Season Scrimmage Second Scrimmage Preseason

Browns QB Deshaun Watson suspended 11 games, fined $5M

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson received an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine for off-field conduct violations related to “predatory” behavior involving more than two dozen women who alleged sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior.

Watson, represented by the NFLPA, and the NFL settled on the punishment after the league appealed an initial six-game suspension was rendered from an investigation into the allegations.

The NFL will confirm compliance with the agreement. Watson is first eligible for reinstatement on Nov. 28.

“Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday. “This settlement requires compliance with a professional evaluation and treatment plan, a significant fine, and a more substantial suspension. We are grateful to Judge (Sue L.) Robinson and Peter Harvey for their efforts in addressing these matters, which laid the foundation for reaching this conclusion.”

Goodell said the NFL and Browns will each donate $1 million to create a new fund “that will support the work of non-profit organizations across the country that educate young people on healthy relationships, promote education and prevention of sexual misconduct and assault, support survivors, and related causes.”

Watson, 26, said in a press conference following the NFL announcement on Thursday that he was ready to move forward with his career.

“I’ve always been able to stand on my innocence and always said I never assaulted or disrespected anyone,” Watson said. “But at the same point I have to continue to push forward with my life and career.”

Watson recently offered an apology “to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation” but previously had maintained that he had “no regrets” about his actions during massage sessions where the alleged wrongdoing took place.

“I’m grateful that the disciplinary process has ended and extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organization,” Watson said in a statement released Thursday by the Browns. “I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made. My focus going forward is on working to become the best version of myself on and off the field and supporting my teammates however possible while I’m away from the team. I’m excited about what the future holds for me in Cleveland.”

Browns co-owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam offered the following statement:

“As we have previously conveyed, Deshaun and his representatives have abided by the NFL and NFLPA structure awaiting a final decision and we have respected the process. “Now that a decision on discipline has been reached, we understand that a decision on discipline has been reached, we understand this is a real opportunity to create meaningful change and we are committed to investing in programs in Northeast Ohio that will educate our youth regarding awareness, understanding, and most importantly, prevention of sexual misconduct and the many underlying causes of such behavior.”

The Browns acquired Watson via trade from the Houston Texans and signed him to a five-year, $230 million contract in the offseason. Watson reached financial settlements with most of the women involved.

When the suspension ends, Watson would be eligible make his regular-season debut with the Browns in Week 13 at Houston in December. The Browns have a bye in Week 9.

Until then, Jacoby Brissett is slated to start for the Browns.

Robinson, a former U.S. district judge, picked by the league and the NFLPA as an independent disciplinary officer, handed down a six-game suspension earlier this month. The NFL appealed Robinson’s decision, wanting Watson to be suspended for a full season. Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general, was chosen by Goodell to hear the appeal. Goodell said the “evidence” called for more than a six-game ban.

Two women filed criminal complaints against the then-Texans quarterback, and 25 leveled lawsuits against him. Watson did not play in 2021 amid the scandal and his desire to be traded.

One woman dropped her lawsuit, and the quarterback has settled, or come to terms on settlements, with all but one of the others.

“Each and every snap, I want to make sure I cherish that because I’m not sure when the next time I’ll be able to get out there with those guys,” Watson said Friday after playing for the first time with the Browns in a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Watson has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns with 36 interceptions. He led the league with 4,823 passing yards in 2020. He also has rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 scores in his career, and he owns a 28-25 regular-season record as a starter.

In three postseason games, following the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he went 1-2 while completing 80 of 126 passes for 870 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.

In the Browns’ 24-13 victory over the Jaguars on Friday, Watson completed just one of his five pass attempts for 7 yards.

–Field Level Media

Aug 12, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) looks to throw the ball during the first quarter of a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson apologizes to ‘women that I have impacted’

Quarterback Deshaun Watson, who previously maintained that he had “no regrets” about his actions during massage sessions that led to allegations of sexual assault and other inappropriate activities, offered an apology on Friday to the women involved.

Watson, beginning his first season with the Cleveland Browns, was interviewed during the team’s pregame show before its exhibition game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He said he is “truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation.”

Beginning what would be his fifth on-field NFL season, Watson made his Cleveland preseason debut in the first half on Friday.

Former U.S. district Judge Sue L. Robinson, picked by the league and the NFL Players Association as an independent disciplinary officer, handed down a six-game suspension to Watson earlier this month. Robinson noted a “lack of expressed remorse” from the 26-year-old quarterback in her decision.

The NFL appealed Robinson’s decision, wanting Watson to be suspended for a full season. Former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey was chosen by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the appeal.

There is no mandated deadline for when a new ruling would be made, although the league’s bargaining agreement with the players association indicates the decision must be “expedited.”

In the Friday interview, Watson also acknowledged that the “decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position, I would definitely like to have back. But I want to continue to move forward and grow and learn and show that I am a true person of character, and I am going to keep pushing forward.”

Two women filed criminal complaints against the then-Houston Texans quarterback, and 25 leveled lawsuits against him. Watson did not play in 2021 amid the scandal and his desire to be traded.

One woman dropped her lawsuit, and the quarterback has settled, or come to terms on settlements, with all but one of the others.

“Each and every snap, I want to make sure I cherish that because I’m not sure when the next time I’ll be able to get out there with those guys,” he said Friday, referring to the pending suspension.

In March, the Browns gave the Texans three first-round draft picks to acquire Watson, then promptly signed him to a $230 million, five-year contract, which is fully guaranteed.

Watson had signed a four-year, $160 million extension with Houston in September 2020, with $111 million guaranteed.

Watson has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns with 36 interceptions. He led the league with 4,823 passing yards in 2020. He also has rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 scores in his career, and he owns a 28-25 regulars-season record as a starter.

In three postseason games, following the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he went 1-2 while completing 80 of 126 passes for 870 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.

–Field Level Media