The Cleveland Browns announced that quarterback Deshaun Watson will start in their preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday night. The organization shared the news before boarding their flight to Florida.
Friday will be the first time the quarterback suits up for a game since January 3, 2021, when he played for the Houston Texans.
The Browns announce Deshaun Watson is expected to start Friday's preseason game against the Jaguars.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 10, 2022
The Current Issue With Deshaun Watson
Houston’s 2017 first-round pick had an incredible 2020 campaign. Although the Texans finished 4-12, Watson compiled a league-leading 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns. He completed 70% of his passes.
In the 2021 offseason, a Houston massage therapist filed a civil lawsuit against Watson, accusing the QB of inappropriately touching her. Since then, over 20 women have accused the former Clemson Tiger of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Due to the lawsuits piling up, the three-time Pro Bowler did not play a single game. Watson requested a trade and did not receive his wish until March 2022.
The Texans traded Watson and a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Browns for Cleveland’s first-round draft picks in 2022, 2023, and 2024, a 2023 third-rounder, and fourth-round picks in 2022 and 2024. The Browns gave Watson a five-year, $230 million deal, the largest contract and most guaranteed money in NFL history.
Watson Brings His Troubles to Cleveland
Judge Sue Lewis Robinson suspended the Browns’ QB for six regular season games for violating the NFL’s personal-misconduct policy. The league is appealing the suspension, hoping to get at least a year-long ban. Commissioner Roger Goodell selected former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal case.
Goodell is confident there is enough evidence to win the case, and Robinson labeled the acts as “predatory behavior.” She presented a 16-page report, noting the quarterback presents danger to the safety and well-being of others. Watson has denied the accusations and two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him on the complaints.
Roger Goodell said Tuesday the NFL seeks a tougher penalty for Deshaun Watson because the QB's actions were "egregious" and "predatory behavior."
Watson was accused of sexual assault and other inappropriate conduct in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women. https://t.co/0RByuPsyfF
— ESPN (@espn) August 9, 2022
What’s Next for QB?
With training camp well underway, Deshaun Watson has been eligible to practice, participating in first-team reps. He shares snaps with Jacoby Brissett, who will start for the Browns during the suspension.
Cleveland ended the 2021 season with an 8-9 record and missed the playoffs. After acquiring Watson, the franchise shipped Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers.
The Browns look to start fresh and have a bounce-back year. Their new chapter begins Friday, and the team will start the majority of their starters in the matchup.
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