Browns' Watson scheduled to start preseason game vs. Jaguars
The Cleveland Browns announced Wednesday that they plan to play most of their starters in Friday's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, including quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson hasn't played since suiting up for his last game with the Houston Texans in Week 17 of the 2020 season.
NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson imposed a six-game suspension on Watson last week following numerous allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. The league has since appealed Robinson's punishment, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pushing for a year-long suspension of the quarterback.
Goodell recently appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the league's appeal of the Watson suspension. If Harvey implements a one-year ban before Friday, the signal-caller won't play against the Jaguars, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio notes.
Twenty-four lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints accused Watson of lewd and coercive behavior while receiving massages from women from March 2020 to March 2021. He settled 20 of 24 civil lawsuits in June and three of the remaining four shortly before Robinson's ruling.
The 26-year-old requested a trade from the Texans in January 2021 before any of the allegations surfaced. Watson was eligible to play last season while the NFL monitored developments in the civil and criminal complaints but was a healthy scratch for all 17 games.
Cleveland and Jacksonville face off at 7 p.m. ET at TIAA Bank Stadium.