Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson got a preview Friday of what road games will look like when he resumes his full-time NFL career.
Watson was handed a six-game suspension earlier this month by an independent adjudicator following allegations of sexual misconduct involving more than two dozen women. The NFL wants a longer suspension and has filed an appeal, with league commissioner Roger Goodell saying the quarterback had displayed “egregious” and “predatory behavior.”
Watson is still available for preseason games and made his Browns debut Friday night against the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Fans chanted “no means no” and “fucking sick” at the 26-year-old. He struggled in his short appearance, completing just one of five passes for seven yards in his first game since January 2021, when he was with the Houston Texans.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and grand juries declined to indict him on criminal charges. So far he has settled with 23 of the women who have filed complaints against him. The Browns did not make him available to the media after Friday’s games, but Watson earlier apologized to the women involved in the allegations.
“Look, I mean I’m so sorry to all the women that I’ve affected in this situation,” Watson said in his pregame interview. “The decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position, I certainly wish I could take it back, but I want to continue to move forward and grow and learn and prove that I am a true person of character and I will. keep moving forward “.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski admitted his quarterback had looked nervous during the game.
“I think he probably wants some throws back,” Stefanski said. “Obviously, playing football for the first time in a long time, I thought it was important for him to go out with his mates in this scheme. I’m sure he got the butterflies and the nerves early on. But I think he understands what he’s working on.”
The NFL is understood to be seeking a one-year suspension for Watson. He is considered one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. The Browns traded for him earlier this year after he sat out the 2021 season due to legal issues and a feud with his former team, the Texans.
The NFL regular season begins on September 8. If Watson serves a six-game suspension, he would return against the Browns’ division rivals, the Ravens, in Baltimore, where he would face a significantly more hostile crowd than in Jacksonville.
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