CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was cleared to practice Monday, a significant step in his return to the NFL following an 11-game suspension.
Watson, who was accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women during massage therapy sessions, reached a settlement with the league in August to sit out 11 games, pay a $5 million fine and undergo counseling and treatment.
To this point, Watson has been permitted only to attend meetings and work out at the team’s facility. The Browns (3-6) don’t practice until Wednesday when Watson will rejoin his teammates on the field.
As long as he continues to meet the conditions of the agreement, Watson will make his debut for the Browns on Dec. 4 against Houston, which drafted him in 2017 and traded him to Cleveland in March.
Browns general manager Andrew Berry recently said Watson will play against the Texans. The three-time Pro Bowler will need some time to ramp up to game speed after sitting out the entire 2021 season while demanding a trade.
Watson insists he did not harass any of the women, who accused him of lewd behavior during the massage sessions while he played for Houston. He settled 23 of 24 civil lawsuits filed against him in Texas.
Two grand juries declined to indict him on criminal charges.