Everything was a disaster – OutKick

Before the game, before being greeted by resounding boos from fans at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson found Browns club owner Jimmy Haslam on the field and s addressed the man who traded him for him and signed him to a $230 contract. million contract.

“Thank you for the opportunity,” Watson told Haslam.

Then Deshaun Watson, who headed for a six-game NFL suspension and likely much longer on appeal for acts of sexual abuse and harassment he perpetrated against 24 Houston-area massage therapists, said played its first game since the last day of the 2020 season on January 3. , 2021.

That’s 586 days between NFL debuts.

And on Friday night, Watson looked very much like a player who had been out of the game for so long.

He played three series. Two of them ended in punts. The other ended in a fumble by running back D’Ernest Johnson.

Watson completed 1 of 5 passes for 7 yards. His quarterback rating was a terrible 39.6.

Watson was rusty or nervous. Or both. His first attempt sailed over the head of a wide-open Anthony Schwartz – a pass any accomplished NFL quarterback should make and Watson has probably made 100 times in the past.

So call it rust or nerves or whatever, Watson looked away.

Then again, his entire offense seemed extinguished. Schwartz dropped two assists. Johnson had the trial and error. There were two penalties.

And, speaking of a tough night for the Browns, starting center Nick Harris was injured in the first quarter and left the field on a cart.

So what to do with that?

Well, that was obviously bad. It showed that Watson wasn’t just rusty, but his presence didn’t really lift his teammates to a motivated performance. And, of course, that wasn’t the Browns’ starting offense in Game 1 of the preseason.

Nick Chubb was not there, nor was Amari Cooper and several others. But the Browns as they were constituted seemed lifeless.

And that was just the problem on the pitch.

Off the pitch, that’s where Watson had his biggest problems. And keep having problems.

Before the game, in fact, before the team left for the stadium, the Browns made Watson available to Aditi Kinkhabwala at the team hotel.

Kinkhabwala, a reporter for the Browns preseason game team, asked the relevant question about Watson’s remorse for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy in three different ways, according to the decision of the disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. Robinson said the NFL proved Watson met the definition of sexual assault from some of the women who later sued and/or filed criminal complaints against him.

Robinson, you should know, ruled that Watson’s “lack of remorse and late notice to the NFL of the first lawsuit filed” was an aggravating factor in his discipline.

Watson therefore tried to solve this problem.

“I want to say I’m so sorry for all the women I’ve impacted in this situation,” Watson said. “The decisions I made in my life that put me in this position, I would really like to have them back, but I want to keep moving forward and learning and showing that I’m a real person of character and I’m going to continue to push forward.”

This will be analyzed by people more adept at these things than me, but the statement seems to include a lot about what his actions did to him and how they affected him and not a ton about what happened to the women.

Watson not only “impacted” but sexually assaulted, according to the NFL investigation, some of these women.

And so on a night when Watson looked bad on the pitch, he also failed to impress in the PR department.

It should be noted that this could be Watson’s last game of the 2022 season.

NFL Appeals Officer Peter Harvey is reviewing the Robinson ruling and will issue a decision on a league appeal seeking a one-year suspension and a $10-12 million fine.

If this appeal goes the way most people in the league with an opinion think — with the NFL winning — then Watson’s next outing will likely be in civil court where the NFL Players Association and its representatives can seek an injunction. temporary and have the appeal judgment quashed.

Watson was acutely aware of this possibility even before his mundane shift. He knew those five assists could be his last of 2022.

“Every shot, I want to make sure I cherish that,” he said, “because I don’t know when the next time I can hang out with those guys…”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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