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The Cleveland Browns announced that Deshaun Watson will start his first game of the season on Friday.
It’s very common for starters, especially quarterbacks, to take off the preseason — however, Watson hasn’t played an NFL game since 2020.
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The 26-year-old has been ruled out of the entire 2021 season amid sexual misconduct allegations against him, currently suspended for six games. However, that suspension could be longer.
The NFL is currently appealing the suspension, as it was done by an independent disciplinary official.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said last week that the Browns are preparing for different scenarios at their quarterback position, but they are getting Watson in game shape in training camp.
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“We’ll let it play out, but we’ve got to get Deshaun ready to play,” Stefanski said before Day 8 of Browns training camp. According to Cleveland.com. “He hasn’t played football in a year. We’ve got to get Jacoby (Brissett) ready to play. He’s potentially playing and starting for us early, and we’re going to count on him.”
When Watson last played in 2020, he led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards. In his four seasons (54 games), he amassed 14,539 passing yards, a 67.8 completion percentage and 104 touchdowns against 36 interceptions.
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The Browns, in fact, said most of their starters will play Friday in Jacksonville.