Deshaun Watson Expected to Start in Cleveland Browns’ NFL Preseason Opener

by Dustin Schutte

Deshaun Watson is expected to be the starter for the Cleveland Browns in Friday’s NFL preseason opener. The team announced the news on Wednesday.

Cleveland opens the preseason with a road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Browns announced that they intend to play most of the starters in the first game of the preseason.

Watson currently faces a six-game suspension during the 2022 NFL regular season for violating the league’s personal conduct policies. However, the league appealed that decision and is seeking a one-year suspension for the quarterback.

Watson was accused of sexual misconduct during massage sessions in Houston. The quarterback has denied the allegations against him.

There’s currently no timetable on a ruling on the NFL’s appeal of Watson’s six-game suspension. Unless something happens quickly, he’ll probably return to the field in Jacksonville on Friday night.

Jacoby Brissett will start in place of Watson during the current six-game suspension when the regular season arrives.

Friday’s game marks the first of three preseason games for both the Browns and Jaguars. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. CT.

Commissioner Roger Goodell Comments on Deshaun Watson Situation

Serious criticism surrounded the punishment Deshaun Watson received. Considering the nature of the allegations against the quarterback, six games didn’t seem like a sufficient suspension.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell believes it should be longer, too. Speaking with reporters recently, he explained the league’s decision to appeal.

“We’ve seen the evidence, she was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence,” Goodell said, via ESPN. “There were multiple violations that were egregious and it was predatory behavior.”

The NFL appointed Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal of Watson’s suspension. He’s a former attorney general in New Jersey and will make a final decision.