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NFL

When will Deshaun Watson return from suspension? Against what team?

We now know the suspension punishment handed to the Cleveland Browns quarterback, and have an idea of his return game.

Update:
Deshaun Watson es suspendido 11 partidos y multado por $5 millones de dólares
MIKE CARLSONAFP

This week we learned that, after much scrutiny and evaluation, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was to take the hit of an 11-game suspension, agreed after an initial six-game ban was appealed by the league. The fine to go along with the time out was set at $5 million, all of this for his off-field conduct violations.

NFL comply with Watson return date

The National Football League has confirmed that it be compliant with the new agreement and this means that Watson will first be eligible for reinstatement on 28 November 2022. Here’s what Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner had to say on the matter.

“Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL. This settlement requires compliance with a professional evaluation and treatment plan, a significant fine, and a more substantial suspension. We are grateful to Judge Robinson and Peter Harvey for their efforts in addressing these matters, which laid the foundation for reaching this conclusion.”

The commissioner also stated that both the NFL and the Browns will donate $1 million each to create a new fund “that will support the work of non-profit organizations across the country that educate young people on healthy relationships, promote education and prevention of sexual misconduct and assault, support survivors, and related causes.”

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Watson, who is now 26, has also spoken after the sanctions were agreed and although he says his is ready to move forward with his career, continues to deny any wrongdoing.

“I’ve always been able to stand on my innocence and always said I never assaulted or disrespected anyone. But at the same point I have to continue to push forward with my life and career.”

“I’m grateful that the disciplinary process has ended and extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organization,” Watson said in a statement released Thursday by the Browns. “I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made. My focus going forward is on working to become the best version of myself on and off the field and supporting my teammates however possible while I’m away from the team. I’m excited about what the future holds for me in Cleveland.”

Which team is Deshaun Watson likely to return against?

As per the aforementioned return date of 28 November, it just so happens that the next scheduled game for the Browns is against the Houston Texans. Yes, his former club. With a bye in Week 9, the game in Houston comes in Week 13 of the season.

It’s far beyond me to say that the decision to make the sanction 11 games -- not, for example, doubling the initial ruling to 12, or taking a nice round 10 -- was intended to create the biggest interest possible by freeing Watson up for this headline-making clash. Coincidences can happen.

So what did Dee and Jimmy Haslam, the co-owners of the Cleveland team, have to say?

“As we have previously conveyed, Deshaun and his representatives have abided by the NFL and NFLPA structure awaiting a final decision and we have respected the process,” a statement read.

“Now that a decision on discipline has been reached, we understand this is a real opportunity to create meaningful change and we are committed to investing in programs in Northeast Ohio that will educate our youth regarding awareness, understanding, and most importantly, prevention of sexual misconduct and the many underlying causes of such behavior.”

Clearly they’ll be hoping to have their star back at the top of his game by the time late November comes around, but will also be aiming to be in a strong position by then.

Who will fill in for Deshaun Watson?

Although Watson was used against the Jacksonville Jaguars in last Friday’s preseason game, the last he will feature in according to coach Kevin Stefanski, the void will be filled by Jacoby Brissett.

Following a college football stint with Florida, Brissett played at NC State and was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He was then traded after his rookie season to the Indianapolis Colts, where he served as the primary starter in 2017 and 2019, before moving to the Miami Dolphins in 2021 and then joining up with the Browns the this year.

Watson, for his part, completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns with 36 interceptions. In 2020 he led the league with 4,823 passing yards and owns a 28-25 regular-season record as a starter. In the Browns’ 24-13 victory over the Jaguars in their latest preseason game, Watson completed just one of his five pass attempts for seven yards.. After the game he spoke to the media, in the knowledge of what was coming.

“Each and every snap, I want to make sure I cherish that because I’m not sure when the next time I’ll be able to get out there with those guys.”

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