Browns' Controversial Quarterback Eligible to Return to Practice This Week

The Cleveland Browns will finally have a chance to see the fruits of their shocking offseason gamble. Under the terms of his 11-game suspension, quarterback Deshaun Watson is eligible to return to practice this week. Due to his team's Week 9 bye, Watson won't be allowed to play until the Browns' Week 13 contest against the Houston Texans, Watson's former team. He'll have a chance over the next couple of weeks to ramp up to his return; it will be his first regular-season action since 2020.

Watson missed all of the 2021 season due to multiple accusations of sexual assault. The Browns traded for him this offseason, giving up multiple first-round picks and signing him to a controversial, fully-guaranteed contract. Watson settled the majority of his disputes this summer and then agreed to a punishment with the NFL that included the 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine. 

At 3-6 and with games against the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers still to come before Watson's return, the Browns will have a hard time clawing their way back to contention in the AFC. In all likelihood, the team won't have a chance to benefit from their controversial acquisition until next season, if at all. Watson has never been a part of a top-10 scoring offense and led the Texans to a 4-12 record in his last season with the team.
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