Watson back at Browns facility, still out until Dec.
1: 07 PM ET
Jake TrotterESPN Staff Writer
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BEREA, Ohio — Quarterback Deshaun Watson returned to the Cleveland Browns‘ training facility on Monday.
Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy by committing sexual assault on massage therapists, as defined by the NFL. He is serving an 11-game suspension but can now participate in team meetings, meet individually with the coaches and work out at the team’s facility. We’ll discuss what we can do with him in the foreseeable future,” said Browns coach Kevin Stefanski. He spoke to Watson earlier Monday morning. “He’s in our meeting rooms with our boys. … This is great news for him and us, as it allows him to be back with his teammates. “
Watson can’t practice with the team until Nov. 14. He won’t be eligible to play again until Week 13, when the Browns travel to face his former team, the Houston Texans, on Dec. 4.
Since Aug. 30, Watson has been banned from having contact with Browns coaches or entering the practice facility. He has been working out with Quincy Avery, his personal quarterback coach.
“He is in a good place,” Stefanski stated. “I think he worked really hard, was in [Cleveland], making sure he was keeping it physical. He’s now just going to catch up in the meeting room. “
On Aug. 18, the NFL and NFL Players Association reached a settlement on Watson’s 11-game suspension, after he was accused by more than two dozen women of sexual assault and inappropriate sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Watson was also fined $5million and must complete a mandatory treatment program.
Over the summer, Watson agreed to settle 23 of the 24 lawsuits against him. Watson was also sued by two other women, but they did not file criminal complaints against him.
Earlier this year, two grand juries in Texas decided not to bring criminal charges against Watson. However, Sue L. Robinson, an independent arbitrator jointly appointed by the league, players’ union and league, found that the NFL had to prove that Watson was involved in sexual assault. Robinson’s report concluded that Watson’s behavior had been both “egregious and predatory.” “
Watson repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and said that people have not been interested in hearing his side of the story.
“I’ll continue to stand on my innocence, just because, you know, settlements and things like that happen doesn’t mean that a person is guilty for anything,” he said Aug. 18, after the settlement agreement. “I feel that a person has the right to prove his innocence, and we have proven that. I will continue to push forward as an individual as well as as a person. The Browns traded Watson to the Texans in March. This gave them three draft picks in the first round. Cleveland also gave Watson a new five-year deal worth $230 million guaranteed, the richest contract in NFL history.
Cleveland (2-3) faces the New England Patriots on Sunday.
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