Deshaun Watson is quiet, but Cleveland Browns teammates talk about comeback

BEREA, Ohio — As expected, Deshaun Watson did not speak on Wednesday.

Instead, Watson’s teammates praised the Cleveland Browns quarterback’s talent and acknowledged that there was a buzz in the locker room this week towards his return to the pitch after Watson’s extended suspension.

“We’re all excited,” the Browns told Nick Chubb. “We’ve waited a long time for him to come back.”

Watson has just finished serving an 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal behavior policy by sexually assaulting massage therapists as defined by the NFL. He also had to pay a $5 million fine and go through a mandatory treatment program.

Watson’s return against this former team, the Houston Texans, on Sunday will be exactly 700 days since he last played in the regular season game (with the Texans on January 3, 2021).

Watson has been accused of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct during massage sessions by more than two dozen women. Over the summer, she agreed to settle 23 of the 24 civil cases against her. Case 25 was dropped by the plaintiff after the judge decided that his petition should be replaced with his own name. Two other women filed charges against Watson but did not sue him. On October 13, another woman sued Watson, alleging that she pressured Watson to have oral sex during a massage session in 2020.

Two grand juries in Texas declined to press charges against Watson earlier this year. In the past, Watson denied any guilt and said people were not interested in hearing the story from his point of view.

He still hasn’t spoken publicly, as his suspension was announced in August.

Watson has been attending team meetings since October 10 and has been working at the team’s training facility, and has been allowed to train with the Browns since November 16.

When asked how Watson has looked in practice lately, Chubb said, “He’s special – he’s a quarterback.” “He puts the ball exactly where it needs to go. Guys like that. The kids are excited.”

The Browns traded Watson in March, sending the Texans three first-round picks. Cleveland then signed Watson to a five-year deal guaranteed $230 million, the richest contract in NFL history.

Backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett replaced Watson during 11 games in which he was suspended. The Browns officially added Watson to their 53-man roster on Monday, waiving quarterback Josh Dobbs in a corresponding move.

“He’s a great player,” said Browns cornerer Denzel Ward. “You can’t go wrong with great actors.”

Cleveland’s record is only 4-7. The team, however, comes from Sunday’s overtime win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which keeps their weak playoff hopes alive.

“There’s definitely some excitement,” said Browns defender Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah of Watson’s return. “We know what he can do with what we’ve seen so far. So I’m looking forward to seeing him[in action].”

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