HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson signed autographs, posed for selfies, ignored the boos and earned a sloppy win.
Once more, he declined to precise regret for conduct that earned him an 11-game suspension.
You are reading: Deshaun Watson returns from ban, declines to express remorse
Again in his outdated dwelling to play his first sport in 700 days, Watson confirmed loads of rust debuting with Cleveland, however the Browns didn’t want him to do a lot in a 27-14 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
After signing jerseys for Texans and Browns followers and taking footage with a number of extra earlier than the sport, Watson was overwhelmed with boos as soon as it began. He heard jeers earlier than every snap within the first half and for a lot of the afternoon.
“They’re speculated to boo. I’m a Cleveland Brown now,” Watson mentioned.
Watson has been accused by greater than two dozen girls of sexual harassment and assault throughout therapeutic massage periods. He has settled 23 civil lawsuits introduced by the ladies, whereas two others, together with one filed in October, are pending.
Requested if he felt remorseful for his actions in his return to Houston, Watson mentioned his authorized staff advised him to not deal with questions on his suspension.
“In fact, it was a troublesome scenario,” he mentioned. “The suspension was powerful however, on the similar time, my major focus was simply to attempt to be 1-0 as a soccer participant right now.”
Pressed additional, Watson mentioned: “I used to be simply excited to be again on the sector right now. I did every part I used to be requested, was required to do. I did all that.”
Watson had a number of supporters within the stands earlier than the sport, whereas a group of the ladies who accused him of sexual misconduct additionally deliberate to attend. Lawyer Tony Buzbee, who represents the ladies, didn’t reply to a textual content message in search of to verify their attendance. He mentioned earlier within the week about 10 girls needed to attend “to form of make the assertion, ’Hey we’re nonetheless right here. We matter.’”
One fan walked into NRG Stadium sporting a derogatory shirt in Browns colours that features textual content saying “I want a therapeutic massage.” He was joined by a fan sporting Watson’s No. 4 Browns jersey.
Followers within the car parking zone arrange a pretend therapeutic massage desk with a model sporting a purple Texans jersey and a towel.
The few followers of their seats when Watson and the Browns jogged onto the sector about an hour earlier than kickoff booed.
“It’s what it’s,” Watson mentioned of the boos. “I can’t management what the followers do. My job is to go on the market and execute.”
He didn’t do this too effectively.
Watson completed 12-of-22 passing for 131 yards and one interception. The three-time Professional Bowl quarterback posted the worst passer score of his NFL profession at 53.4. The Browns (5-7) obtained two defensive touchdowns and a particular groups rating to beat the Texans (1-10-1).
After an interception gave the Browns their first possession at their 43, Watson threw two incomplete passes. He spun away from a sack on third down, and followers cheered when his throw to David Bell hit the bottom.
Watson’s first accomplished move on his third try resulted in a turnover when Anthony Schwartz fumbled after a 12-yard acquire. Watson later drove the Browns to Houston’s 11 earlier than throwing a choose in the long run zone.
“We don’t anticipate him to be Superman after he hasn’t performed in two years,” All-Professional defensive finish Myles Garrett mentioned.
Watson sat out the 2021 season after demanding a commerce from Houston. After two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him over allegations of sexual harassment and assault, the Browns traded a number of draft picks to get Watson after which signed him to a totally assured $235 million contract.
Throughout warmups, Watson signed jerseys for followers behind the top zone. An 18-year-old man from East Texas obtained Watson’s autograph on his Browns jersey. A pair from Houston sporting Texans jerseys additionally obtained Watson’s signature on their jerseys.
“We don’t actually know what occurred and everybody deserves a second probability,” mentioned Sherry Holden, explaining her help.
A number of Browns followers mentioned they had been uncomfortable rooting for Watson.
“I’m cheering for the jersey and the staff but it surely’s onerous to just accept him as my quarterback,” mentioned Brandon Collins, who traveled from Ohio for the sport.
The NFL needed to droop Watson for no less than one season however settled for 11 video games after an impartial arbiter initially gave him a six-game ban. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pointed to former U.S. District Decide Sue Robinson calling Watson’s conduct “egregious” and “predatory” in in search of the total suspension.
Watson additionally was fined $5 million and required to endure skilled counseling and remedy. Watson has maintained his innocence but in addition apologized to the ladies he impacted and
The Browns went 4-7 with veteran Jacoby Brissett filling in for Watson.
Coach Kevin Stefanski dedicated to beginning Watson subsequent week and emphasised him getting his first sport out of the best way.
“He appeared very sharp in observe and he’s excited for the subsequent one so he understood this one was going to be completely different,“ Stefanski mentioned.
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