Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has settled his dispute with the NFL and will now miss more than half of this upcoming season. On Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the former Clemson Tiger will be suspended for 11 games, a substantial increase over the six-game punishment he received earlier this month. In addition to the suspension, Watson has also been hit with a fine of $5 million for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Watson’s decision to accept the NFL’s settlement offer (the deal has reportedly been agreed to but not yet signed) means that the case is officially over from a football perspective. Watson will sit out Cleveland’s first eleven games of the season before being eligible to return to the team on Nov. 28. In a twist, Watson’s first game back will come against his former team, the Houston Texans. The Browns are scheduled to play in Houston on Dec. 4.
On August 1st, NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson ordered Watson to be suspended without pay for six games. The punishment was handed down after 24 women accused Watson of sexual misconduct, sparking civil lawsuits and putting the star quarterback on the sidelines in 2021. Over the past couple of months, Watson has settled 23 of the cases against him.
Although the longer ban means Watson will be out until Week 13, he will be allowed to participate in preseason games. The Browns have two more of those this month, and the former first round pick will be eligible to play in both of them. Watson won’t start serving his suspension until the Browns begin their preparations for Week 1 of the regular season.