CLEVELAND (AP) — Deshaun Watson returned to the Cleveland Browns’ training facility Monday, the quarterback’s next step in his potential return from an NFL suspension.
Watson, banned for 11 games for alleged sexual misconduct after being accused by women in Texas of lewd actions during massage therapy sessions, has been away from the Browns since Aug. 30.
He agreed to a suspension, a $5 million fine and to undergo counseling and treatment as part of a settlement with the league.
The three-time Pro Bowler is now permitted to attend team meetings and can participate in Cleveland’s game planning. He’s also free to work out in the weight room, but he’s not eligible to practice until Nov. 14.
As long as he fulfills the settlement’s provisions, Watson will be eligible for full reinstatement on Nov. 28 and can play in his first game on Dec. 4 against the Houston Texans, who drafted him in 2017 and then traded him in March to the Browns amid his legal troubles.
Watson has stayed in touch with teammates while he’s been away from the Browns, but until Monday wasn’t allowed to have any contact with coaches or any other members of the organization.
During the first half of his suspension, Watson stayed in the Cleveland area and worked out locally with quarterback coach Quincy Avery.
Watson didn’t play last season with the Texans, so the time he’s eligible to return to the field, it will have been 700 days since his last appearance in a regular-season game.
The 27-year-old played briefly in Cleveland’s exhibition opener in Jacksonville on Aug. 12. He completed 1 of 5 passes for 7 yards.
During his suspension, Jacoby Brissett has started for the Browns (2-3), who lost 30-28 on Sunday to the Los Angeles Chargers. Brissett threw a costly interception late in the fourth quarter for the second week in a row.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL