Cleveland Browns Make Big Move on Deshaun Watson Following 11-Game Suspension

Deshaun Watson will make his 2022 debut this weekend. This week, the Cleveland Browns announced they have placed the veteran quarterback on the active roster following his 11-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. He is expected to start on Sunday when the Browns take on Watson's former team, the Houston Texans

Watson's suspension came as he was dealing with multiple lawsuits for allegedly committing sexual assault and sexual misconduct on massage therapists. He was also fined $5 million and is required to undergo a mandatory treatment program. The last time Watson played in a regular season game was when he was with the Texans on Jan 3., 2021, which was the final game of the 2020 NFL season. The accusations began during the offseason in 2021 and Watson was inactive for the entire 2021 season. 

This past summer, Watson settled 23 of the 24 lawsuits against him. A 25th lawsuit was dropped by the plaintiff when the judge ruled that her petition had to be amended with her name, according to ESPN. Two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson, and when speaking to reporters, Watson denied any wrongdoing. The Browns traded for Watson during the offseason and signed him to a five-year, $230 million guaranteed contract, the largest in NFL history. 

Despite not playing a game in over a year and a half, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski believes Watson will be ready to go on Sunday since he working out at the team facility and attending team meetings since Oct. 10. "Next step is obviously being out there taking all of the first team reps," head coach Kevin Stefanski said, per the Browns' official website. "He's been doing a nice job getting the defense ready with the scout team reps that he's gotten. I think he's done a nice job with his time away physically, staying sharp and mentally staying sharp, so I think he'll be ready to roll."

Watson, 27, was selected by the Texans in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In his career, Watson has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times and led the league in passing in 2020 after throwing for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns. 

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If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.