Sports: Cooper catches on with Browns, quickly connects with Watson

QB Deshaun Watson reports to Browns camp not knowing future

  QB Deshaun Watson reports to Browns camp not knowing future CLEVELAND (AP) — Deshaun Watson reported to his first training camp with the Browns on Friday still not knowing how long he'll be their starting quarterback. Like one of his passes, Watson's future remains up in the air. As he awaits word on whether he'll be suspended by the NFL for off-field behavior, the three-time Pro Bowler arrived at Cleveland's training facility in Berea along with the team's other QBs and rookies. Watson was scheduled to undergo a physical followed by meetings.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — In his short time with Deshaun Watson, Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper has gained an appreciation for the quarterback's skills.

  Cooper catches on with Browns, quickly connects with Watson © Provided by The Canadian Press

Cooper's impressed with Watson as a runner, passer and playmaker.

"He can do everything,” Cooper said Thursday. “I call him the magician.”

Now, he's hoping Watson doesn't disappear.

As the Browns continue to await word on whether Watson will be suspended by the NFL, Cooper, acquired via trade from the Dallas Cowboys two months before Cleveland signed the three-time Pro Bowl QB, has been trying to develop chemistry with his new teammate.

Waiting game: Watson, Browns open camp as NFL ruling looms

  Waiting game: Watson, Browns open camp as NFL ruling looms BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Deshaun Watson is practicing and waiting. He's had plenty of work at that. Cleveland's controversial quarterback gets on the field Wednesday as the Browns opened training camp still not knowing if Watson will be suspended by the NFL for violating its personal conduct policy. Watson has been accused by more than two dozen massage therapists in Texas of sexual misconduct, and the three-time Pro Bowler faces possible punishment from league disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, who has been weighing his case for weeks.

The unpredictable situation is hardly ideal for Cooper. But the 28-year-old can't worry about what may or may not happen. Whether Watson is Cleveland's starter or it falls to backup Jacoby Brissett, Cooper has to be ready to perform.

“To me, no matter who is back there, I just have to make the job easier for whoever it is,” he said before the Browns' second practice of training camp. "That’s my goal every time I line up out there. As long as I handle my business, get open, it's easy on whoever is back there. If I don’t get open, it’s hard on whoever is back there.”

The Browns had no update on Watson, who is facing a potential suspension from league disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson after being accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen massage therapists in Texas.

Ex-NFL receiver Charles Johnson was reported missing day before being found dead

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The former federal judge will decide whether Watson violated the league's personal conduct policy and discipline him accordingly.

In the meantime, the Browns are proceeding as if Watson will be their starter while bracing for the possibility they could be without him for multiple games.

For Cooper, Cleveland is another fresh start after four seasons with Dallas. He had 68 catches for 865 yards and eight touchdowns last season, but missed two games with COVID-19 and the Cowboys decided to part with him primarily because of his $20 million contract.

Cooper said he wasn't unaware of recent comments by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said the decision to trade the four-time Pro Bowl receiver was based more on his “availability than ability.”

Whether he heard Jones' remarks or not, Cooper said being dealt will light a fire.

“To be traded and stuff like that, it’s motivating,” he said. "If you don’t have a chip on your shoulder, then what do you have? Even if you don’t get traded or released by a team, there should always be some type of motivating factor there.”

Browns QB Deshaun Watson settles three more lawsuits; 23 of 24 cases now settled

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Cooper immediately moved to the top of Cleveland's depth chart — a No. 1 target for Watson or Brissett. Not the fastest receiver, he's an adept route runner with reliable hands and 46 touchdowns over eight seasons.

Cooper's also reserved, a quality not always present in receivers, some of whom have the reputation of being divas.

“He's a little bit more lowkey, not loud and boisterous, but he's a great teammate,” said coach Kevin Stefanski. "He's brilliant, smart. I sit right behind him in meetings. He's as smart of a player as I've been around.

"I really enjoy having him out here. I enjoy watching him work. He's such a big, imposing figure at that position, and to watch him go through drills and take extra reps, he will not take himself out. He's a pro’s pro all of the way.”

NOTES: Second-year WR Anthony Schwartz suffered a left knee injury midway through practice. Schwartz was examined by a trainer before walking to the facility. The team said he will undergo further evaluation. He had just 10 catches as a rookie but is being considered for the No. 3 spot behind Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. With Schwartz out and rookie WR David Bell (foot) currently sidelined, general manager Andrew Berry might need to find outside receiving help. ... The Browns wore protective Guardian Caps over their helmets for the first time. The NFL is requiring linemen, linebackers and tight ends to wear the protective padding in practice through the second preseason game. The league hopes the extra layer can reduce concussions by decreasing helmet-to-helmet contact. The Browns won't wear full pads until next week.

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Tom Withers, The Associated Press

Attorney urges Goodell to 'do the right thing' on Watson .
HOUSTON (AP) — A lawyer representing two dozen women who have accused Deshaun Watson of sexual assault or harassment said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a chance to “do the right thing” now that the league has appealed a six-game suspension for the Cleveland Browns quarterback. “Every victim of sexual assault is watching Roger Goodell and the NFL right now. Mr. Goodell, what will you do? It’s never too late to do the right thing,"“Every victim of sexual assault is watching Roger Goodell and the NFL right now. ... Mr. Goodell, what will you do? It’s never too late to do the right thing," attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women who sued Watson over their allegations, said Thursday.

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