CLEVELAND — Deshaun Watson walked through the snow en route to his first day on the job with the Browns. Baker Mayfield was nowhere in sight.
Watson showed up to Cleveland’s offseason program on Tuesday to revive his career with the Browns, who mortgaged their near-term future by acquiring the controversial quarterback accused of sexual misconduct in a trade last month.
With temperatures in the 30s and snowfall in late spring, the former Houston QB arrived at the team’s facility in Berea, Ohio. The Browns posted a photo on Twitter of Watson, wearing a heavy winter jacket, before entering the building.
One of the reasons the three-time Pro Bowler and Georgia native, who played at Clemson in South Carolina, initially turned down the Browns in their pursuit before changing his mind was because of the freezing, wintry weather of northeastern Ohio.
Watson lost the only game he played in Cleveland with the Texans, as the howling winds made it nearly impossible to pitch.
It will take months to acclimatize.
The Browns convinced Watson to join him, then traded three first-round picks and six overall selections in March to Houston for the 26-year-old, who faces 22 civil lawsuits from women accusing him of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is scheduled to meet with reporters on Wednesday. Watson is not expected to answer questions from reporters.
Watson also faces discipline from the NFL, which is investigating whether he violated the league’s personal conduct policy. He may be suspended for part of the 2022 season.
The three-time Pro Bowl QB has claimed his innocence. Two Texas grand juries declined to indict him on any criminal charges. However, Watson is still grappling with civil lawsuits and has made depositions in recent weeks.
The Browns did their own background check on Watson, and owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam felt so confident in the search — and after meeting Watson personally — that they signed him to a $230 million contract. fully guaranteed after waiving his no-trade clause to come to Cleveland.
Watson’s move effectively ended Mayfield’s four-year run with the Browns, who are looking to trade the former No. 1 overall pick but find a limited market, in part because of his $18.8 million contract. dollars for next season.
Mayfield was not on the team’s offseason schedule as he continues to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left shoulder. Mayfield was injured in Game 2 for the Browns, and his struggles throughout an 8-9 season convinced the team to seek another quarterback.
The team’s pursuit of Watson angered Mayfield, who demanded to be traded.
Last week, Mayfield said the team’s front office was not being honest with him when explaining their offseason plans. Mayfield said he felt “disrespected” by the team and looked forward to relaunching his career elsewhere.
At this point, this location is unknown.
New York Post