BEREA, Ohio — Deshaun Watson did not converse Wednesday, as anticipated.
Talking for him as an alternative, Watson’s teammates praised his expertise and admitted there is a buzz within the Cleveland Browns‘ locker room this week heading into Watson’s return to the sector after his prolonged suspension.
“We’re all excited,” stated Browns working again Nick Chubb. “We have waited a very long time for him to come back again.”
Watson simply completed serving an 11-game suspension for violating the league’s private conduct coverage by committing sexual assault, as outlined by the NFL, on therapeutic massage therapists. He additionally needed to pay a $5 million nice and bear a compulsory therapy program.
Watson’s return Sunday towards this former staff, the Houston Texans, will mark precisely 700 days since he final performed in a regular-season recreation (with the Texans on Jan. 3, 2021).
Watson has been accused by greater than two dozen ladies of sexual assault and different sexual misconduct throughout therapeutic massage periods. Over the summer time, he agreed to settle 23 of the 24 civil lawsuits towards him. A twenty fifth lawsuit was dropped by the plaintiff when the choose dominated that her petition needed to be amended along with her title. Two different ladies filed prison complaints towards Watson however did not sue him. On Oct. 13, one other girl filed a lawsuit towards Watson, claiming he pressured her into oral intercourse throughout a therapeutic massage session in 2020.
Two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue prison prices towards Watson earlier this yr. Prior to now, Watson has denied any wrongdoing and stated individuals have not been desirous about listening to his facet of the story.
He nonetheless hasn’t spoken publicly since his suspension was introduced in August.
Watson has been sitting in on staff conferences and understanding on the staff coaching facility since Oct. 10 and has been allowed to follow with the Browns since Nov. 16.
“He is particular — he is a playmaker,” Chubb stated, when requested how Watson has appeared just lately in follow. “He places the ball precisely the place he wants it go. Guys like that. Guys are excited.”
The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending the Texans three first-round draft picks. Cleveland then signed Watson to a five-year deal value $230 million assured, the richest contract in NFL historical past.
Backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett stuffed in through the 11 video games Watson was suspended. The Browns formally added Watson to their 53-man roster on Monday and waived quarterback Josh Dobbs in a corresponding transfer.
“He is an important participant,” Browns cornerback Denzel Ward stated of Watson. “You possibly can’t go unsuitable with nice gamers.”
Cleveland’s file is simply 4-7. However the staff is coming off Sunday’s additional time victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which stored its slim playoff hopes alive.
“There’s an pleasure, for positive,” Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah stated of Watson’s return. “We all know what he can do with what we have seen to date. So wanting ahead to seeing him [play].”