Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is permitted to return to the team facility today for the first time since his 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy took effect on Aug. 30.
Starting Monday, Watson is permitted to participate in on-site rehab with the medical staff, meet with non-football staff, attend meetings and meet individually with head coach Kevin Stefanski, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and quarterbacks coach Drew Petzing. Watson is also permitted to participate in individual workouts with the strength staff and eat meals in the cafeteria.
NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported that Watson did indeed return to the Browns facility on Monday.
Watson still is not permitted to attend group workouts. He cannot attend practices or games and cannot attend club sponsored events or do media.
Watson previously had not been allowed to have any contact with coaches, set foot in the building, or receive a game plan or playbook, per the terms of a settlement reached between the league and the NFL Players Association following an appeal of Watson’s initial six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy. In issuing Watson’s six-game punishment in August, disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson wrote that “by a preponderance of the evidence,” Watson, alleged by more than 20 women to have committed sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions, engaged in “sexual assault; conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person; and conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL.”
The settlement also required Watson to pay a $5 million fine, undergo an evaluation by a clinician jointly selected by the NFL and NFLPA and undertake regular, mandatory counseling. A source informed of Watson’s situation says he is on track with those requirements.
During his suspension, Watson has been throwing for about 90 minutes at an Ohio gym three days per week (Tuesday-Thursday), doing his best to simulate how a team practice would operate during a game week. The workouts, run by his personal QB coach Quincy Avery, include local receivers who played in college — mostly at the Division II level.
“They run good routes and give him a good look,” Avery told NFL.com. “We do it basically like we would if he was there (with the Browns). So, the first two days we go full pads, then the last day in helmets — whatever the team would be wearing that day.”
Watson still has his materials from training camp and the offseason. Avery also has been designing throwing sessions to use concepts and route combinations that Cleveland uses. Avery added that he is examining game tape to see if the Browns “do anything new.”
The Cleveland QB will throw for 90 minutes, then do physical therapy with his trainer and get chiropractic work. When it’s game day, he’ll watch like any other observer, and then Avery will break down the All-22 film and work through it with Watson.
Watson is permitted to practice starting on Nov. 14. He is eligible for reinstatement on Nov. 28 and would first be eligible to play in Week 13 against the Houston Texans, his former team.