CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns expect Deshaun Watson to return to their facility on Monday as the polarizing quarterback continues serving his 11-game NFL suspension for alleged sexual misconduct.
Watson has been away from his new team since Aug. 30, undergoing counseling and treatment in accordance with a settlement he made with the league.
The 26-year-old QB, acquired in a trade from Houston in March, was accused of being sexually inappropriate with women during massage therapy sessions while he played for the Texans.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Friday that he’s eager to reunite with Watson, who won’t be eligible to practice until next month.
“I have not talked to him since the day that he walked out of the building,” Stefanski said as the Browns wrapped up their week of preparations for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers (2-2).
While Watson is suspended, the Browns coaching staff and other members of the organization are not permitted to have contact with him. However, once he returns next week, Watson can attend meetings and work out in the facility.
“Looking forward to seeing him and getting him back around his teammates,” Stefanski said. “I know there are limitations to what he can do early. Will be great to get him back in the building.”
Watson will be eligible to return to the practice field on Nov. 14 and play Dec. 4 against the Texans in Houston. They traded the three-time Pro Bowler to the Browns for three first-round draft picks and six selections overall.
Cleveland, which has spent nearly two decades looking for a franchise QB, signed Watson to a five-year, $240 million contract with all the money guaranteed.
In August, Watson, who settled civil lawsuits with two dozen women, agreed to his suspension with the NFL after months of haggling between his attorneys, the league and the NFL Players Association.
Watson accepted the 11-game ban and a $5 million fine, and he agreed to be evaluated by outside behavioral experts.
The Browns split their first four games with Jacoby Brissett as their starting QB. The 29-year-old Brissett has thrown for 830 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has a rushing TD.