BEREA, Ohio — As the Cleveland Browns continue to wait on whether quarterback Deshaun Watson will be suspended, star pass rusher Myles Garrett said that the uncertainty surrounding Watson will not hang over the team during training camp.
“Doesn’t change, regardless of how the situation works itself out,” Garrett said before the Browns’ first training camp practice Wednesday. “We’re going to hold ourselves to the highest standards.”
NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, a retired federal judge, is still weighing whether Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Watson has been accused in civil lawsuits by 25 women of inappropriate sexual misconduct during massage sessions. One of the 25 lawsuits was dropped after the judge ruled the petition had to be amended to include the plaintiff’s name.
Watson and 20 of the other plaintiffs agreed to settle their lawsuits in June. Four lawsuits remain active and are on track to go to trial next year.
Robinson heard arguments from the NFL, the NFLPA and Watson’s attorney during a three-day hearing in late June. Two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year and Watson has maintained his innocence, but the NFL argued that he should face an indefinite suspension of at least a full season.
The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending three first-round draft picks to the Houston Texans after a Harris County grand jury in Houston declined to indict him. Cleveland then gave Watson a new five-year contract worth $230 million, fully guaranteed.
Garrett said his expectations for the Browns, especially defensively, will remain the same regardless of what Robinson decides.
“No matter what happens, the defense is going to do what they do,” Garrett said. “Last time I heard, (the opponent) can’t win if they don’t score points. … The offense always needs our best. So it’s not going to change whether he’s not on the field or he is on the field.”
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, meanwhile, reiterated Wednesday that Jacoby Brissett would be Cleveland’s starter in the event Watson is suspended, even though the team signed former 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen last week.
Stefanski added that Watson and Brissett will share first-team snaps to begin training camp as the team awaits Robinson’s decision.
“I wouldn’t get into like the exact percentage,” Stefanski, “but they’re both gonna get a ton of reps.”