Cleveland Browns stick to QB prep plan despite NFL allure for 6-game suspension of Deshaun Watson

BEREA, Ohio – Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Friday the team is waiting to see what happens with the allure of the NFL Deshaun WatsonSix matches suspended before changing his midfield plans in practice.

So far in training camp, Watson has had the vast majority of shots with the first team offensive; to support Jacobi Brisset I mostly worked with the second team.

“We’re going to wait somewhat for clarification on the situation,” Stefanski said before Friday’s training. “Just keep moving forward with what we’re doing.”

Stefansky was speaking for the first time since the NFL announced Wednesday that he is appealing the ruling of disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, a former federal judge, as he seeks a tougher sentence under the league’s personal conduct policy.

“The NFL’s appeal addresses whether, based on Judge Robinson’s findings, the system should be modified to include professional evaluation and treatment as determined by medical experts, an appropriate fine, and a longer suspension,” the league said in a statement. .

On Thursday, the NFL announced that Commissioner Roger Goodell has appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal. Harvey now works as a partner at Patterson Belknap Corporation in New York. He has also served as a federal attorney general and a member of the NFL Diversity Advisory Committee. Harvey also served as Goodell’s appointee on another arbitration. In 2017, Harvey was one of four members of an expert panel that reviewed the league’s investigation into domestic violence in the declining Dallas Cowboys. Ezekiel ElliotHe was suspended for six matches for breaching the conduct policy.

The NFLPA said Friday it has provided a summary of its response to the NFL’s appeal.

There is no timetable for when Harvey will hear the appeal. In accordance with the league’s personal conduct policy, this must be done urgently. Under the collective bargaining agreement, Harvey’s written decision “will constitute a complete, final and complete resolution of the dispute and will be binding on the player(s), club(s) and parties to this Agreement.”

Earlier on Friday, the Cleveland All-Pro right guard White Tiller He said the Browns players are ready to make a decision on Watson’s availability for this season.

He said, “Yes, of course.” “Obviously we want to know what’s going on and do with it. I think if any team is in this situation, that’s what they want.”

Watson is accused of sexual assault and other indecent behavior during massage sessions in civil lawsuits brought by 25 women. The alleged encounters in the lawsuits took place from March 2020 to March 2021, while Watson was a member of the Houston Texans. Watson sat last season with the Texans after requesting a deal from Houston earlier in the off season.

In issuing the six-game suspension, Robinson wrote that “the NFL has carried the burden of proving, by the preponderance of the evidence, that Mr. Watson engaged in sexual assault (as defined in the NFL) against the four therapists identified in the report.”

However, in enforcing the suspension, Robinson cited flaws in the league’s guidelines for player misconduct, which limited her power to penalize the player.

While drawing on the former, Robinson sought to distinguish between violent and nonviolent sexual behavior. Robinson concluded that Watson’s behavior “does not fall into the category of violent behavior requiring a minimum six-match suspension” defined by the League as “by far the most commonly imposed discipline of domestic violence or sexual violence and sexual acts”.

The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending three first-round picks to Texas. Then Cleveland gave Watson a new five-year contract that was the richest deal in NFL history for any player.

Stefansky has yet to say if Watson will start or even play in the Cleveland season opener next Friday in Jacksonville.

“We have to get Deshaun ready to play, he hasn’t played football for a year,” Stefanski said. “We have to prepare Jacobi to play, he will probably play early for us and start and we will depend on him. … We will take advantage of every opportunity we have here, individual training, post-practice, during training, we have to prepare all these players to play.”