Deshaun Watson starts in Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans game after NFL 11 game suspension, says general manager Andrew Berry

Houston, Texas– Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will return from his 11-game NFL suspension over sexual misconduct allegations and will face his former team in Houston on December 4, general manager Andrew Berry reiterated Wednesday.

The video above is from a previous story.

During his Bye Week press conference, Berry said Watson has “done everything and more” since returning to the team’s facility last month and will play immediately if he is eligible next month.

SEE RELATED STORY: Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson has 11 games suspended, fined $5 million, the source told ESPN

Watson played four seasons with the Texans, who traded him to the Browns in March. The 25-year-old was suspended by the league on August 18 after he was accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women in massage therapy sessions.

Two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges.

The three-time Pro Bowler agreed to a settlement with the league for violating their personal conduct policy. He accepted the suspension, a $5 million fine and to undergo professional counseling and treatment.

Watson can start training on November 14, and as long as he meets the stipulations in his deal with the league, he will return to face the Texans, who drafted him in 2017 before beating him against three draft picks from the sold to the Browns in the first round .

Watson initially turned down Cleveland’s offer – Carolina and Atlanta were also courting him – before owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam lured him to a five-year, $230 million contract that’s fully guaranteed.

Berry said the Browns anticipate Watson will be ready to play in his first regular-season appearance in 700 days. Watson, who returned to the Browns’ facility last month, is sitting out the 2021 season while his legal troubles fester.

Jacoby Brissett stepped in for Cleveland and has played well in Watson’s absence.

The Browns (3-5) avoided a relapse in the AFC playoff chase with an impressive 32-13 win over Cincinnati on Monday night. Brissett will make three more starts – in Miami, in Buffalo and at home against Tampa Bay – before turning the matter over to Watson.

Berry said the Browns are careful not to place additional expectations on Watson when he returns.

“Our attitude towards him is if he’s available and back, we’ll welcome him back and upgrade him appropriately,” Berry said. “Up to this point the focus is really on the guys that are playing and of course the quarterback position to set up Jacoby (Brissett) for the game and to be our best against the coming opponent.”

Watson has been able to train and attend meetings with the Browns since October 10. He has been suspended since his suspension began on August 30. Before the suspension, he briefly played in an exhibition match.

“It was great to have him back in the building,” Berry said. “He’s focused on working on himself. He’s stayed in great shape. He was part of the meetings. He did everything and more that was asked of him.”

“We will be happy to have him if he can continue to increase his football activities and return to the practice field,” said Berry.

Berry did not reveal details about Watson’s training and said he was the only one allowed to be with members of the team’s strength and conditioning staff.

Prior to the suspension, the Browns integrated Watson into their offense and set him up for the season by giving him most of the training camp snaps so Berry doesn’t worry about the lengthy layoff affecting him.

“We spent a lot of time with Deshaun at camp during the spring and racked up a lot of good reps during that time,” Berry said. “And that being said, I don’t think with our approach, really with a quarterback but certainly with the time Deshaun had off, we expect him to shoulder everything.”

“That’s not necessarily how the team is designed or put together. I don’t know if that would be a fair question for a quarterback. In a couple of weeks we’ll be in that world where we’re getting him ready to play and we’re going to deal with that appropriately,” Berry said.

Watson reached undisclosed financial settlements in 23 of 24 civil lawsuits filed against him by women in Texas. Another lawsuit was recently filed in Houston, but Berry said it doesn’t affect Watson’s status.

SEE RELATED STORY: Judge gives new plaintiff 24 hours in latest lawsuit against Deshaun Watson to come forward with his name

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Deshaun Watson starts in Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans game after NFL 11 game suspension, says general manager Andrew Berry

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