(WJW) – Deshaun Watson spoke to reporters for the first time since he served an 11-game suspension. He found the I-Team waiting with questions.
Watson opened a news conference saying, “I’m excited to be back.”
“I understand you guys have a lot of questions, but with my legal team and my clinical team, there’s only football questions I can address at this time,” he added.
Watson will play in his first game this weekend since the NFL punished him after more than 20 women sued him and accused him of sexual misconduct as they gave him massages.
The Browns wasted no time welcoming him back this week with huge banners, but some fans tell the I-Team they can’t get over the off-the-field issues.
So, we asked what he’d say to fans who might still believe, after all that has happened, Watson should not be the face of an NFL franchise.
He responded by talking only about football, saying, “Like I say, I’m focusing on football. That’s my main focus, so I can be the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.”
Watson had to sit out most of the season and get counseling. This week, the league said he did what he had to do.
Watson also said he’s grateful for a chance to play again.
“Every step I make, every day when I wake up, I thank the Lord. I’m a God-fearing man. I know who my Lord and Savior is.”
Watson does not face any criminal charges. Two grand juries declined to indict him.
But, 25 women sued Watson in civil court for sexual misconduct. Yet, all but two of those cases have been settled. The settlements have been kept confidential.
One case remaining is just beginning to go through court. The other could go to trial in the spring.
In the past, Watson has denied the claims of all of the accusers.
A lawyer says some of the accusers plan to be in the stands in Houston on Sunday for Watson’s first game back, watching as he plays against his former team. But, he says he won’t get caught up in any drama.
“I’m not worried about the atmosphere,” he said. “I have to go out and execute the game plan.”
Watson did make one point about the court settlements. He claimed he was not involved in those. His agent handled that.
Meanwhile, he also took the time to say thanks.
“I also want to thank the Browns organization, the ownership. Also, want to thank all the Cleveland fans and the community for embracing me,” Watson said.