The NFL confirmed Thursday that former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey will hear the league’s appeal of disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson’s decision that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson should only be suspended for six games for allegations of sexual misconduct during massage sessions.
It was reported that the NFL wanted Watson suspended indefinitely and made ineligible for at least the entire upcoming season. As it stands, however, the 26-year-old who didn’t take a picture for the Houston Texans in the 2021 campaign following an off-season trade request is on the right track. to make his official debut with the Browns at the division-rival Baltimore Ravens. Week 7 on October 23.
Replacement Jacoby Brissett will be Cleveland’s QB1 for the Week 1 game at the Carolina Panthers if Watson is banned at that time. According to Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper, head coach Kevin Stefanski spoke to reporters on Friday about being prepared for all scenarios regarding Watson’s availability.
“We’ll let it play out, but we have to prepare Deshaun to play,” Stefanski explained. “He hasn’t played football for a year. We need to prepare Jacoby to play. He will potentially play early for us and start and we will rely on him.”
The Browns also have journeyman Joshua Dobbs and 2018 first draft pick Josh Rosen in their quarterback room ahead of their preseason opener at the Jacksonville Jaguars next Friday.
“Same for Dobbs and Rosen. These guys have to be ready to play,” Stefanski continued during his comments, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “So I’m just looking at that we’re going to use all the opportunities we have here, the individual drills, after training, during training, we have to prepare all these guys to play.”
It has previously been reported that the NFL Players Association is prepared to sue in federal court if Watson receives an indefinite suspension. An injunction would presumably allow him to proceed until the case is settled one way or another.
Pro Football Talk reports that the Browns are currently planning to play Watson in preseason competition.