For the first time since August after accepting an 11-game suspension from the NFL, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson spoke to reporters Thursday. The 27-year-old started his presser with a statement expressing his excitement to be back on the pitch, but also said that “with my legal team and my clinical team, there are only football questions I can answer at the moment” .
Of course, Watson was suspended by the league after the quarterback was sued by 25 women over allegations ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault. Watson has since settled 23 of those cases.
In the past, Watson had said he would present his side of the story. Asked Thursday about when he put that over thereWatson said, “Right now, I can’t say any of that. Who knows what the future holds. Right now, I’m stuck to be the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.”
Now that his suspension is over, Watson is expected to make his debut for Cleveland on Sunday when the Browns face his former team, the Houston Texans. The terms of Watson’s suspension were a bit unique as he was able to come back to the team a few weeks ago and participate in some sessions, so he doesn’t exactly come into this week completely cold as he prepares for his first departure.
“My biggest focus was the mental part,” Watson said, via SI.com. “Stay locked in defensive schemes and stay locked in the scheme we have here. Right after Jacoby [Brissett]asking him questions, preparing like I was the starter that week.”
In his absence, the Browns are 4-7 this season, but just pulled off an upset against the Buccaneers last Sunday. Given this record, Cleveland is currentlyon the playoffs and would likely need to win the rest of the way to even enter the conversation. More realistically, the goal of this home stretch should be for Watson to return to being the quarterback he was before his off-field troubles, where he was considered one of the best young signallers in the league.
“We’ll have to see on Sunday honestly. It might take time, but it might not take time. I want to go out there and play as much as possible. Two years is a long time, but I’ve been done. it since I was 6,” Watson said.
Watson saw little work during the preseason, only appearing in one game for the Browns. In this exhibition, he completed one of his five passes for seven yards. In his final full season of 2020, he completed 70.2% of his passes and led the league with 4,823 passing yards.