Report: Deshaun Watson has shown “signs of progress” during treatment

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When he met with reporters on Thursday, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson refused to answer questions unrelated to football. With neither the NFL nor the NFL Players Association saying anything on the record about the situation either, the only option left is to leak a self-serving version of the situation to a reporter, in the hopes that the reporter will pass it along without asking questions or pushing back.

Adam Schefter of reports that NFL and NFLPA experts believe Watson has shown “signs of progress” during mandatory treatment sessions. Watson was required to submit to treatment as part of the negotiated settlement of his league-imposed suspension.

Schefter notes that the situation is confidential, before of course facilitating a breach of the confidentiality in a manner aimed at making Watson look better.

“He’s been progressing well and he wants to continue with it, and they feel it’s helping him,” said  an unnamed source “connected to” Watson’s treatment program. “It’s just sort of ongoing as needed and it’ll be ongoing until it’s not needed anymore. And I think it’s given him a lot of help and support. But this could take a while.”

Two significant questions are left unanswered (and unaddressed) by this new report: (1) how much progress was he required to make in order to be reinstated; and (2) how much progress did he actually make?

As of August 18, after Watson agreed to accept an 11-game suspension and to pay a $5 million fine, he maintained his innocence as to the allegations of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions. At the time, league sources downplayed the significance of his refusal to publicly acknowledge wrongdoing, explaining he would come to realize the things he shouldn’t have done and why he shouldn’t have done them through treatment.

Does the term “signs of progress” mean that he hasn’t quite gotten there yet? Again, has he truly done enough to justify his reinstatement, per the requirements established in August?

A little cynicism is justified here, given the very real belief in some league circles that certain owners wanted Watson to be suspended for less than a full year, so that the Browns wouldn’t see Watson’s contract tolled for an entire season. If Watson didn’t return at all in 2022, his five-year contract would start in 2023 and run through 2027. By returning during the season, the Browns have Watson under contract only through 2026 — and they will be compelled to pay the full value of his deal during that time frame.

Plenty of questions will be answered today regarding how he’s received in Houston and how he plays after so much time away. After the game, don’t expect to learn anything more about whether he has any real contrition for the events that resulted in his suspension.

Indeed, don’t expect to hear any more about that until some future Sunday morning when some reporter reports that Watson is privately showing the contrition he refused to show in August and declined to even begin to address on Thursday.

23 responses to “Report: Deshaun Watson has shown “signs of progress” during treatment

  1. Boo birds will be out in force in Houston. Progress would be he admits he has a problem, takes responsibility for it and offers an apology. I doubt we will see any of that but oh well the Browns got their QB…

  2. Hopefully Watson takes advantage of the resources that are available to him to help him deal with the issues at hand. I am disappointed that this has happened to my team but hopefully he will move in the right direction and represent his team honorable.

  3. After today things should settle down ,and that’s a good thing, but It’ll probably start up again next season when the Browns are in the Super Bowl.

  4. What a blemish on the face of the NFL. The Browns and the NFL are a joke.

    Yet we hear more about a few small issues with the performance of first ballot HOF QB Russell Wilson.

    A pillar in his community and a true leader of men.

  5. Signs of progress on what? He still doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

    The fact the sessions are mandatory pretty much says all we need to know.

  6. Progress will be determined many years from now, his remorse, his relationships moving forward – his actions. Progress is not made by a few PR words spoken by Schefter to help smooth over his first game appearance.

  7. He will not be well-received in Houston or anywhere else for the rest of this season. Browns fans are likely to let up in 2023 but he will be a pariah in every other city for the rest of his career.

  8. Cleveland Browns have had such a miserable existence since they got their second franchise after the move to Baltimore. The hiring of Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark the very two that ruined the 49ers in 1990’s was an absolute disaster. I’m hoping everything works out. I’m rooting for redemption. Hope this QB learns from his past and overcomes.

  9. Between gambling and the amount of crime in the NFL, it’s getting more difficult to support them.

  10. If the NFL really cared he wouldn’t be playing today against his old team in the town that the complaints were filed. He shouldn’t be playing this year at all. Also shows how little cooth the NFL has that he’s allowed back specifically for this game. I hope nobody watches anywhere in the country but that won’t happen because, hey….. football.

  11. I know he probably can’t say much until he resolves the final suits, but I won’t believe anything until I hear directly from him that he acknowledges his abusive behaviour.

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