As part of the conditions that allowed Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson to be reinstated to play the Houston Texans on Sunday, he did what NFL and NFLPA pundits dubbed during his mandatory per-league treatment program “Signs of progress” have described sources.
Although his 11-game suspension is now over, Watson is expected to remain on his treatment regimen with no end date in sight at this point, sources told ESPN.
“He’s made good progress and wants to continue with that and they feel it’s helping him,” said a source connected to Watson’s treatment program. “It will only continue as needed and it will continue until it is no longer needed. And I think it gave him a lot of help and support. But that might take a while.”
The program is considered confidential and Watson did not shed any light on his treatment last week. He declined to address his treatment during his press conference last week ahead of his return to the game, but as a source pointed out, his “clinician said he shouldn’t comment on his treatment program and he mustn’t get into his legal situation.”
Watson was suspended for violating the league’s personal conduct policy by committing sexual assault on massage therapists, as defined by the NFL. He was also fined $5 million and had to participate in the mandatory treatment program, which sources believe helped him. Watson has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual assault and other inappropriate sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Over the summer, Watson agreed to settle 23 of the 24 lawsuits against him. A 25th lawsuit was dropped by the plaintiff when the judge ruled that her petition needed to have her name changed. Two other women filed criminal complaints against Watson but did not sue him.
Watson, who has not been criminally charged, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said people were not interested in hearing his side of the story. He declined to address questions outside of football for the past week, and now his Browns debut will mark exactly 700 days since he last played in a regular-season game with the Texans on Jan. 3, 2021.
Some believe the NFL deliberately suspended Watson 11 games so his return could be in Houston, which could lead to higher TV ratings. But this game is only broadcast in 7% of the country, with play-by-play announcer Spiro Dedes and analyst Jay Feely calling the game.
The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending the Texans three first-round draft picks. Cleveland also signed Watson to a five-year, guaranteed $230 million contract, the richest contract in NFL history.
Watson returned to training with the Browns on November 16 and has been allowed to attend team meetings and train at the team’s training facility since October 10. He becomes the sixth quarterback in the last 15 seasons to make his debut against the team he last played for, according to Elias Sports Bureau, and the third to do so this season, alongside Baker Mayfield and Russell Wilson.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35173057/browns-watson-shown-signs-progress-treatment-program Brown’ Watson showing ‘progress’ in treatment program, sources say