Deshaun Watson gets muted reaction at Browns' open practice
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Deshaun Watson sprinted onto the field to a light round of cheers Saturday at the Cleveland Browns' first open practice of training camp. The noticeably muted reaction reflected the uncertainty surrounding Cleveland’s controversial new quarterback. Watson was the focal point as the Browns worked out in front of a near-capacity crowd at their suburban headquarters. He briefly waved while running to the middle of the practice fields, but did not speak with the media.
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Deshaun Watson's suspension has forced the Browns to launch their backup plan — with the consummate backup quarterback. © Provided by Associated Press – Sports Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Deshaun Watson, right, and Jacoby Brissett look to pass during the NFL football team's training camp, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)
Jacoby Brissett, though, has never thought of himself as a second option.
"I’m just another quarterback on the roster,” he said.
With Watson being suspended six games — pending a possible appeal by the NFL — for v iolating the league's personal conduct policy due to allegations of sexual misconduct, Brissett, now with his fourth team, is Cleveland's short-term starter.
Browns unlikely to re-sign C JC Tretter
The Browns released center J.C. Tretter in March, and he has lingered on the free agent market ever since, with no concrete reports of interest in his services. However, even if Cleveland was able to re-sign its five-year starter to a team-friendly pact, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com does not envision such a reunion. © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter Per Cabot, the Browns would only consider re-signing Tretter if presumptive starter Nick Harris suffers a serious injury.
He's back atop a depth chart, a place Brissett has been before after making 37 starts during a seven-year pro career in which the 29-year-old has bounced from New England to Indianapolis to Miami to Cleveland. © Provided by Associated Press – Sports Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett takes part in drills during the NFL football team's training camp, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)
Watson has been getting the bulk of snaps with Cleveland's first-team offense in camp, but that's likely to change soon now that the Browns know they'll be without Watson for at least six games and potentially more depending on what the league decides. © Provided by Associated Press – Sports Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Deshaun Watson (4) and Jacoby Brissett (7) laugh during the NFL football team's training camp, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)
None of this is new to Brissett.
Browns QB options: What's next after Deshaun Watson suspension, from Jacoby Brissett ... to Jimmy Garoppolo?
Browns QB options: What's next after Deshaun Watson suspension, from Jacoby Brissett to Jimmy Garoppolo?Cleveland's massive five-year contract for Watson was a big risk and it will come with much bigger salary cap hits in 2023 and beyond. But in 2022, he counts only a little more than $10 million toward the cap. Even with that, the team has the most cap room of any team in the NFL, at more than $48 million.
After being drafted by New England in 2016, he was thrust into the starting lineup as a rookie when Tom Brady was suspended for “Deflategate" and while Jimmy Garoppolo was sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Three years later, Brissett unexpectedly took over for the Colts following Andrew Luck's stunning retirement in training camp. With Miami last season, Brissett was called upon after Tua Tagoviola got hurt in Week 2 and started five games.
Brissett is headed down a path he knows well.
“Since I’ve been in this league it’s been the next man up,” he said before Tuesday's practice. "That was the case my rookie year, so that experience helps with not only the playing but with the mindset of understanding that you’ve got to be ready whenever your number is called.” © Provided by Associated Press – Sports Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett throws a pass during the NFL football team's training camp, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)
The Browns signed Brissett as a free agent one day after Watson waived his no-trade clause and agreed to join Cleveland. The team needed to add a QB with experience and one capable of leading a talented roster, especially if Watson was going to be out for an extended period.
Watson Suspension: Last-Minute Settlement Talks, Next Steps
The NFL must now weigh several factors as the league decides whether to appeal a suspension lighter than it wanted. There’s a passage in Sue L. Robinson’s 15-page decision on Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson that cuts to the heart of how she felt the NFL wanted the disciplinary process to go. It’s one that can also illuminate where things go next.“The NFL may be a ‘forward-facing’ organization, but it is not necessarily a forward-looking one,” she wrote. “Just as the NFL responded to violent conduct after a public outcry, so it seems the NFL is responding to yet another public outcry about Mr.
Brissett was ideal.
“He’s been in some different positions already in his young career,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “He has a very good way about him. Very, very intelligent. Very good leader. Has the ability to make plays on the practice field, help in the meeting room. Be accountable throughout the weight room. He just does all the right things.”
Although he's among the team's new players, Brissett said it's comforting to know the Browns believe he can fill in for Watson.
“It feels good that you have that trust amongst the organization,” he said. “I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. knows Brissett as well as anyone. He was teammates with Brissett in Indianapolis when he took over for Luck. The Colts didn't miss a beat.
“He stepped in and he was a pro,” Walker said. “He handled it the right way. People forget we were a really good football team with him as our starting quarterback before we had a lot of guys go down.
“We were rolling at that point but happened to take a couple of bad bumps. Jacoby's a pro. He’s prepared, is going to prepare every day whether he's the starter or the backup. He’s always ready so he doesn’t have to get ready.”
Fans debate Watson's 6-game suspension for assault claims
Cowboys WR had to be carted off the field at Monday.
As Brissett answered questions for the first time since Watson's suspension, Walker lurked just outside the semicircle of reporters. At one point, he caught Brissett's eye and the QB took a playful swipe at his teammate.
“He's annoying as hell,” Brissett joked.
It was a playful moment in this tense period for the Browns, who remain unsure of what's coming next for Watson.
In the meantime, the plan is to prepare Brissett for the Sept. 11 opener against Carolina, and perhaps five more games until Watson is eligible again.
Brissett smiled when he was asked how tough it will be to hand over the reins at 6-0.
"We’ll cross that bridge when we cross that bridge,” he said. © Provided by Associated Press – Sports Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Deshaun Watson (4) and Jacoby Brissett (7) jog during the NFL football team's training camp, Monday, August 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. Watson was suspended for six games on Monday after being accused by two dozen women in Texas of sexual misconduct during massage treatments, in what a disciplinary officer said was behavior “more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL.” (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)
NOTES: Top WR Amari Copper sat out with an ankle injury suffered Monday. Stefanski expects Cooper to be back soon and still doesn't feel any need to add receivers despite a rash of injuries at the position. ... RT Jack Conklin (knee) and DE Jadeveon Clowney (rest) were among a group of players who worked on the side. ... The Browns practiced in pads for the first time and the initial scuffle of camp featured some shoves and words between WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and rookie CB Martin Emerson. © Provided by Associated Press – Sports Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett looks to pass during an NFL football practice in Berea, Ohio, Friday, July 29, 2022. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
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Why Browns' Deshaun Watson may be willing to settle for eight-game suspension, seven-figure fine .
Why Browns' Deshaun Watson may be willing to settle for eight-game suspension, seven-figure fineThe Associated Press reported Thursday that Watson would be willing to accept an eight-game suspension and a $5 million fine if his camp can reach a settlement with the NFL.