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Roger Goodell says Browns QB Deshaun Watson following suspension terms, on track for return

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday evening that Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson remained on track to return from his 11-game suspension on Dec. 4 at Houston, despite another lawsuit being filed last week.

“Yes, he’s followed all of the terms [of the suspension]," Goodell told reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in New York Tuesday. "As far as any additional [lawsuits], obviously we will follow all of them. If there’s new information, we will take that into consideration. But we’ll see as time goes on.”

Last Thursday evening, a licensed massage therapist under the pseudonym Jane Doe filed a lawsuit in Harris County, Texas, alleging Watson had pressured her into oral sex at The Houstonian hotel in Houston in December 2020. Watson, at the time, was still the quarterback of the Houston Texans.

On Tuesday, the woman amended her lawsuit to include her name after she was ordered to do so by Judge Rabeea Sultan Collier the previous day. She is the 25th to file a lawsuit against Watson, all over allegations of similar misconduct claims in 2020 or early 2021.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson responds to questions during a press conference following the announcement of his 11-game suspension at the NFL team's training facility in Berea on Thursday.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson responds to questions during a press conference following the announcement of his 11-game suspension at the NFL team's training facility in Berea on Thursday.

Of the 24 others, 23 were settled during the summer as he awaited his punishment from joint disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson for NFL Personal Conduct Policy violations. A total of 26 women previously have accused Watson through the judicial system of sexual misconduct or sexual assault during massages.

Watson's 11-game suspension started at 4 p.m. Aug. 30. He had agreed to the suspension length as part of a settlement with the NFL, which appealed his original six-game suspension for personal conduct policy violations handed down by Robinson on Aug. 1.

The quarterback was acquired by the Browns on March 18 along with a 2024 sixth-round pick in exchange for first-round picks in 2022, 2023 and 2024, a 2022 third-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick. He was allowed to return to the facility for meetings and to receive treatment on Oct. 10.

The first time Watson will be allowed back onto the field for practice will be Nov. 14, the day after the Browns play at the Miami Dolphins. He's slated to be reinstated from the suspended list on Nov. 28, the day after their home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Watson has not played in a regular-season game since Jan. 3, 2021, when he played in the Texans' season finale against the Tennessee Titans. He'll make his regular-season return at the same site, just wearing a different uniform.

The last time Watson played in a game of any sorts was back on Aug. 12 when he started the Browns' preseason opener at the Jacksonville Jaguars. He completed 1 of 5 passes for 7 yards in nine snaps, one of which was a play negated by a holding penalty, in three series.

Contact Chris at ceasterling@thebeaconjournal.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Roger Goodell says Browns QB Deshaun Watson on track for return