Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson begins serving 11-game suspension

BEREA, Ohio – Deshaun Watson leave him Cleveland Browns training center on Tuesday to begin serving his 11-game suspension.

Watson cannot return to the facility or have contact with the Browns until October 10 and cannot practice again until November 14.

On August 18, the NFL and the NFL Players Association reached an agreement to suspend Watson, who has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual assault and sexual misconduct during massage sessions.

The Browns placed Watson on the reserve/suspended list Tuesday, shortly before their afternoon practice. Watson was not on the field.

Coach Kevin Stefanski said he met with Watson before the quarterback left the facility before Tuesday’s deadline at 4 p.m. ET.

“I think he has a very good plan,” Stefanski said. “Obviously, as you know, we can’t lead him. We can’t follow him. There really isn’t any contact with him until October 10. But I’m convinced he has a good plan. to do a good job while he’s away.”

Stefanski did not say whether Watson would stay in Cleveland during the non-contact segment of the suspension, but admitted that Watson would leave town initially.

Stefanski noted that Watson will work with his personal quarterbacks coach, Quincy Avery.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for him right now while he’s away from this building to go work on football, work on himself, work on a bunch of different things,” Stefanski said.

Under the settlement, Watson was also fined $5 million and must comply with mandatory treatment and counseling to be reinstated. Watson is eligible to play again in Week 13 against the Houston Texans, his former team. If he does not comply with the treatment plan, his reinstatement could be delayed and he could face additional disciplinary action.

Watson continued to deny any wrongdoing, although he accepted the settlement and apologized through a statement the team sent out immediately after the settlement was announced.

“It doesn’t mean that a person is guilty of anything,” he told reporters on August 18. will continue to move forward as an individual and as a person.”

Watson has been charged with sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior during massage therapy sessions in a lawsuit brought by 25 women. One of the 25 lawsuits, one was dropped. Watson has settled or agreed to settle all of the remaining lawsuits except one, which remains outstanding. Two other women filed criminal complaints against Watson but did not prosecute him.

Two grand juries in Texas declined to bring criminal charges against Watson earlier this year, but disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA, found that Watson violated the personal conduct policy with “flagrant” and “predatory” behavior. . She suspended Watson for six games, citing his “lack of expressed remorse” as an aggravating factor.

The NFL appealed Robinson’s six-game decision, but ultimately settled with the NFLPA despite the appeal of a one-season suspension.

The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending three first-round picks to the Texans. Cleveland then gave Watson a new five-year contract worth $230 million, the richest deal in NFL history for any player.

Strategist Jacoby Brisset was named Cleveland’s starter for the 11 games Watson is out.

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