Deshaun Watson's Post-Suspension Status Decided

By Jason Hall

November 2, 2022

Chicago Bears v Cleveland Browns
Photo: Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns will start Deshaun Watson at quarterback once his suspension concludes, general manager Andrew Berry announced on Wednesday (November 2) via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Watson will be eligible to return for the Browns' Week 13 matchup against the Houston Texans, his former team, on December 4.

"#Browns Andrew Berry said Deshaun Watson will start the 1st game he's eligible, Dec. 4th in Houston vs. #Texans, even though Jacoby Brissett has been 'everything we hoped when we signed him,'" Cabot tweeted.

In August, Watson's suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy was extended to 11 games and a $5 million fine was implemented following a settlement between the National Football League and NFL Players Association, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported at the time.

"Breaking: NFL and NFLPA reached agreement on an 11-game suspension for Browns QB Deshaun Watson, per sources," Schefter tweeted. "The settlement also includes a fine of $5 million that will go to charity. Deal still is not signed but it is agreed to."

The NFL later confirmed the settlement in an official news release shared by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The quarterback addressed reporters after the announced settlement and denied "ever assaulting anyone or disrespecting anyone."

"I will continue to stand on my innocence and keep pushing forward," Watson said via Cabot. "I've always stood on not disrespecting or sexually assaulting anyone."

Watson was previously facing a six-game suspension handed down by appointed disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, but the NFL has appealed the ruling and plans to seek a one-year ban.

Watson started in the Browns' preseason opener in August -- his first NFL appearance since January 2020 -- and threw for seven yards and completed 1 of 5 pass attempts during a 24-13 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Browns' announcement that Watson would start came one day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly said that the league has "seen the evidence" necessary to pursue a one-year ban for the quarterback, referring to Watson's alleged actions as "egregious" and "predatory behavior."

Goodell spoke publicly on August 9 following a special league meeting in Minneapolis to officially approve the sale of the Denver Broncos and addressed the NFL's decision to appeal Watson's six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy previously handed down by Robinson.

"We've seen the evidence," Goodell said via NFL.com. "[Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson] was very clear about the evidence, should we enforce the evidence. That there was multiple violations here, and they were egregious, and it was predatory behavior. Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that's responsible."

In August, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport shared a statement from NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy, which said, "the NFL notified the NFLPA that it will appeal Judge Robinson's disciplinary decision and filed its brief this afternoon. Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who will hear the appeal."

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