Deshaun Watson’s first start after his suspension will be against his former team

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will return from his 11-game NFL suspension over sexual misconduct allegations and start in Houston against his former team on Dec. 4, the manager reiterated Wednesday. General Andrew Berry.

During his bye week press conference, Berry said Watson had done “everything and more” since returning to the team’s facility last month and would play immediately when eligible next month. next.

Watson played four seasons with the Texans, who traded him to the Browns in March. The 25-year-old was suspended by the league on August 18 after being accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women during massage therapy sessions.

Two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges.

The three-time Pro Bowler has agreed to a settlement with the league for violating his personal conduct policy. He agreed to the suspension, a $5 million fine and to seek professional advice and treatment.

Watson can start training Nov. 14, and as long as he sticks to the terms of his league deal, he’ll return to face the Texans, who drafted him in 2017 before trading him to the Browns for three picks. first round. .

Watson initially turned down Cleveland’s offer — Carolina and Atlanta also courted him — before owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam lured him to a fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million deal.

Berry said the Browns expect Watson to be ready to play in what will be his first regular season appearance in 700 days. Watson, who returned to the Browns facility last month, missed the 2021 season as his legal issues worsened.

Jacoby Brissett replaced Cleveland and played well during Watson’s absence.

The Browns (3-5) held off a backtrack in the AFC playoff pursuit with an impressive 32-13 win over Cincinnati on Monday night. Brissett will make three more starts — in Miami, Buffalo and at home against Tampa Bay — before handing over to Watson.

Berry said the Browns were careful not to put additional expectations on Watson upon his return.

“Our mindset with him is when he’s available and back, we’ll welcome him back and ramp him up appropriately,” Berry said. “Until then it’s really about focusing on the guys who are playing and obviously at quarterback, getting Jacoby (Brissett) ready to play and doing our best against the opponent at come.”


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