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JIMMY'S TAKE | 3News' Jim Donovan reacts to suspension for Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson: '11 games is a totally different story'

'His first game back would be Dec. 4 when the Browns are in Houston to take on the Houston Texans. Think that game will have a little juice to it?'

BEREA, Ohio — When news first broke Thursday regarding Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson being given an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine, the voice of the Browns -- 3News' Jim Donovan -- offered the following take on the situation. Here's Jimmy in his own words...

It seems as though we finally have finality in the Deshaun Watson case – at least between Watson and the NFL. A settlement agreement has been reached in the case. Watson is suspended for 11 games for the upcoming season, and he’s been fined a total of $5 million.

RELATED: Here are the 11 games Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson will miss during his suspension

Remember, the NFL wanted a year-long suspension, an indefinite suspension, and he would be out of the league basically at that point in time and would have to be reinstated come next year. 

That won’t happen.

Watson wanted, at least, of course, the six-game suspension that was handed down initially by federal judge Sue L. Robinson in the case. Six games with no fine, but of course that was appealed by the NFL and that’s why we went to the next stage.

RELATED: 'I apologize once again': Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson, team owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam issue statements after 11-game suspension

He then appeared to be in the negotiations for a settlement, was ready to accept an eight-game suspension with some kind of fine. The NFL, we had heard, was at a 12-game suspension with an $8 million fine. But now we have reached this ground of an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine.

If you’re playing the schedule game, when would he be eligible to come back and join the Browns in the regular season? That would be Dec. 4. Hang on to your hats! When would it be and who would it be against? It would be in Houston, Texas, against the Houston Texans – his old team. 

Can you imagine that?

Now we heard boos in Jacksonville last week when he went on the field in the preseason opener last Friday night. Can you believe the scene that will be in Houston when he comes back to the place that he didn’t want to play in anymore where all of this happened with these massage therapists and that’s his first game back?

RELATED: Deshaun Watson underwhelms, rookies shine as Cleveland Browns beat Jacksonville Jaguars 24-13 in preseason opener

That’s in December. Let’s deal with the football situation right now.

The Browns have a huge decision to make. They are ready to win. They are a very, very talented football team. But they have to be sure that Jacoby Brissett, who is now the starting quarterback for the Browns when the regular season begins, can he get them through 11 games? Or do they have to look outside the organization? The name that comes to mind – and on everybody’s tip of their tongue – would be Jimmy Garoppolo, the quarterback from San Francisco.

In other words, can the Browns stay relevant in the division race and the possible wildcard playoff race and the playoff scenario in the NFL with this talented team, but with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback? 

I take you back to when this all happened in March. The Browns felt, when they made the trade to get Watson, six games was probably the limit. They immediately got Brissett and they thought they could get by with Brissett at quarterback for six games – 11 games is a totally different story. It’s a very good football team, but you and I both know the most important position on the field for any team is quarterback. So right now, the Browns, who have been wringing their hands waiting for this decision as to how long Watson’s going to be away from the team -- now they have it. Now do they spin into action or do they hold and say, "We’re going to go with Jacoby Brissett. We’re going to go with Chubb and Hunt and a great offensive line and what we think is going to be an elite defense in the NFL. They’re going to win games for us, and we’ll be relevant still by the time Deshaun Watson joins us in December."

RELATED: Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson says he maintains his innocence after 11-game suspension

Once again recapping, Deshaun Watson and the NFL work out a settlement in the case – at least in the NFL situation. The civil situation, remember, down in Houston there is still one more case that needs to be litigated or they come up with a settlement in that case. But in the football sense of it, in the football world, it’s an 11-game suspension with a $5 million fine. His first game back would be Dec. 4 when the Browns are in Houston to take on the Houston Texans.

Think that game will have a little juice to it?

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