Browns Confirm QB Deshaun Watson Will Be Ready At Earliest Date To Return From Suspension

Deshaun Watson's return is one month away and the Cleveland Browns expect to put him on the field as soon as his suspension ends.

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry told reporters Wednesday that "yes we would" expect Watson to return for the Dec. 4 game between the Browns and Houston Texans. That is the first week Watson is allowed to play.

Watson actually returned to the team last week. He's been allowed to attend meetings and work with the strength and conditioning staff. Watson will return to practice Nov. 16, two weeks from today.

Deshaun Watson Can Practice In Two Weeks

"It's been great to have him back in the building," Berry said. "He's been focused on working on himself and stayed in great shape. He's been a part of the meetings. You know, he's done everything and more that's been asked of him. We'll be excited to have him when he can ramp up football activities and get back on the practice field."

Watson has not played a regular-season game since the 2020 season.

He missed the entire 2021 season as the Houston Texans sidelined him because he wanted to be traded and was under the cloud of an police and NFL investigation for his alleged sexual attacks on Houston area female massage therapists.

Watson was never indicted criminally on any allegations but was sued in civil court and settled with the 24 women alleging misconduct during massage sessions. He was suspended for six games for violating the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy, but the league appealed that ruling to commissioner Roger Goodell’s designee.

In a settlement between the NFL, the NFL Players Association and Watson's representatives, Watson accepted an 11-game ban and fine of $5 million.

What Deshaun Watson Return Means To Browns

So Watson, traded to Cleveland in the offseason, returns to the field in the near future after not playing since the22020 season's final game.

"We spent a lot of time in the spring with Deshaun and banked a lot of good reps at the time," Berry said. "That being said, our approach with any quarterback and certainly with Deshaun with the time he's had off is not to shoulder everything.

"That's not necessarily how the team is designed or put together. I don't think that would be a fair ask for any quarterback. In a couple of weeks we'll be in that world where we're getting him ready to play and we'll handle it appropriately."

The Browns are 3-5 with Jacoby Brissett as the starting quarterback. So can Watson's return signal some sort of significant turnaround?

Will Watson be the team's savior?

Can Watson Save Browns' Season?

"That's not really our mindset," Berry said. "Our mindset with him is when he's available and back we'll welcome him back and get him ramped up appropriately. But until that point it's really the focus is on the guys who are playing and obviously the quarterback position getting Jacoby prepared to play and putting our best foot forward against the upcoming opponent."

Berry admitted the Cleveland offense will change some with Watson in the lineup. But not a lot.

"Every offense has to be designed around the starting quarterback's strengths and I think everybody realizes that can look a little bit different when potentially Deshaun takes snaps under center," Berry said.

"But that being said, the core package of the offense will be consistent. That's not to say there may not be modifications based on his skillset. But I don't think that transition will be quite as challenging as some are anticipating." .

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero