Deshaun Watson won't have playbook for possible protestors, questions in 1st game back from NFL ban

ByTom Withers AP logo
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Deshaun Watson back from NFL ban, clear to start vs. Texans
Deshaun Watson won't have a playbook for everything that lies ahead. There's no blueprint for how he'll handle protestors and pointed questions when he returns to the field Sunday against the Texans.

HOUSTON, Texas -- Deshaun Watson won't have a playbook for everything that lies ahead.

The practices, meetings, film work, making handoffs, throwing passes for the Browns, all of that will be easy, second nature. The rest: protesters, heightened scrutiny and pointed questions, will be unscripted.

There's no blueprint for the once-revered quarterback now reviled in some circles.

On Tuesday, Tony Buzbee, the Houston attorney representing Watson's accusers, said the women are set to attend Sunday's game against the Texans.

"They thought it was important to make clear that they are still here and that they matter. I was proud of them for that. I have made that opportunity available to them," Buzbee told ABC13's Adam Winkler via text.

Buzbee is also expected to attend the matchup in Houston, adding the following statement he gave ABC13:

"I think it's important to note each of these women is different. You can't paint them with a broad brush. I would never encourage any of them to attend. Some never want to hear Watson's name again. Others have put it in the past. Some are still angry. Others are defiant. Makes me proud they want to stand up and be counted rather than quietly go away. Good on them!"

Cleveland's controversial, $230 million QB was officially reinstated Monday by the NFL after serving his 11-game suspension for sexual misconduct allegations made by more than two dozen women.

SEE RELATED STORY: Judge gives new plaintiff in latest Deshaun Watson lawsuit 24 hours to give name

Watson's return wasn't accompanied by any fanfare, simply a posting on the league's personnel notice.

He's now a starter again and poised to make his regular-season debut for the Browns on Sunday, coincidentally, in Houston, where he began his pro career and quickly rose to stardom before off-field decisions knocked him off course.

The 27-year-old quarterback isn't starting over, but anew.

He's coming back to the Browns (4-7), who are clinging to the hope that he can lead them to the playoffs despite his long layoff.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski believes Watson, who returned to practice two weeks ago, is ready for what will be his first game in 700 days - and whatever's next.

WATCH: Deshaun Watson apologizes to accusers for 1st time since allegations

Deshaun Watson offered an apology "to all the women that I've impacted in this situation" as he prepared to make his first Browns preseason start.

ESPN contributed to this report.