CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Deshaun Watson addressed the media Thursday ahead of his first start under center.
It was the first time he’s talked to the media since August.
“I’m excited to be back. I’m excited to be back around my teammates,” Deshaun opened.
“I’m open to answer any football questions,” he said, telling reporters that due to “legal stuff” there were questions he could not answer.
Watson has just completed an 11-game suspension and is set to take the field Sunday when the Browns play his former team the Houston Texans.
The FOX 8 I-Team was at the press conference.
“What do you say to fans who might still believe that after all this happened Deshaun Watson should not be the face of an NFL franchise,” Ed Gallek asked him.
“I’m focusing on football. That’s my main focus is football,” Watson responded.
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women who sued Watson for sexual assault, says some of them will be at Sunday’s game.
“I’m not worried about the atmosphere,” he said when asked about how he’d be received Sunday in Houston.
Watson settled 23 of 25 sexual assault lawsuits. The suspension was punishment for the NFL investigation into claims of sexual misconduct against him by some of those women.
“Most of the settlement stuff with the NFL was mostly my agency and my legal team,” Watson said when he was asked about settling 23 sexual assault lawsuits against him.
The I-Team has reported extensively on the investigation and the settlements that followed, along with the grand jury reports on the criminal cases that ultimately led to no charges against Watson.
“We’re still trying to figure out who we are as an offense,” Watson said about the team preparations.
“Two years is definitely a long time,” he said about not playing a regular season game in 700 days. But he said it would be “just like riding a bike.”
- Joel Bitonio, Sione Takitaki and Amari Cooper spoke at the start of the press conference and collectively said they are looking forward to Watson’s start in Sunday’s game and have had opportunities to practice with him
- Watson thanked Cleveland fans, the team and Jacoby for their support during his suspension
- He said he’s only prepared to answer football questions at this time, nothing in his personal life
- He’s excited to get in front of Browns fans as well as Houston fans, where he still calls home
- “Who knows what the future holds,” he said when asked if he plans to answer questions about the suspension and the lawsuits
- On what he can add to the offense that’s more explosive, he said he plans to make more plays and added that he thinks the Browns are in the top 5 offense
- Having been months since he was on the field, he says he’s been preparing by watching other QBs, learning from them and also keeping in shape by lifting weights