CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
It's been more than a week since Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's disciplinary hearing with the NFL came to an end.
But unless a settlement between Watson and the NFL is reached, don't expect a decision on his potential punishment to be announced in the coming days.
Citing a league source, CBS Sports' Josina Anderson reported that it could still be "a few weeks" until former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson renders a ruling on Watson's case. Having been jointly appointed as an independent arbiter by the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA), Robinson is responsible for determining whether Watson—who has been accused of sexual misconduct, including harassment and assault by more than two dozen women—violated the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy, and if so, what his punishment will be.
Anderson also noted that legal briefs from Watson and the NFL—which will serve as each side's final opportunity to make an argument—are due in the coming days.
"Post-hearing briefs are due 'soon' this week in the Deshaun Watson proceeding," Anderson tweeted. "This morning, a league source said this on the timeline for a result. 'We're still looking at a few weeks before we get a decision. It may or may not be before camp. Sue Robinson will take her time.'"
As for what Robinson will be reviewing, Anderson reports that there are currently four accusers "at issue," as the NFL opted not to pursue eight of the 12 women it interviewed as a part of its investigation. A source also told Anderson that "the NFL has the burden of proof and it is by the preponderance of evidence and there is no dispute about that…There is precedent in case law that establishes it."
The league's investigation into Watson came after 25 women filed lawsuits against the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback. He has since settled 20 of the lawsuits filed against him, with another accuser opting to drop her lawsuit. Four civil suits currently remain.
While two Texas grand juries opted not to indict Watson on criminal charges as a result of the accusations, the 26-year-old still faces potential punishment from the NFL if it's found he violated the league's personal conduct policy. While Robinson will make the initial decision on that punishment, both sides have the ability to make an appeal, which would then be heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
According to multiple reports, the NFL had recommended an indefinite suspension lasting no less than one year based on its investigation. Watson's side, meanwhile, has argued for no punishment to be applied to the former Houston Texans quarterback, who sat out the entirety of the 2021 season before being traded to the Browns this past March.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio says he will "be watching the week of July 25" for a possible verdict, with a decision potentially coming as soon as July 22.
"If [Robinson] generates a ruling too quickly, it may seem rushed," Florio wrote. "She needs the public to understand and accept her findings and reasoning. Part of achieving that is to wait just long enough so that people will believe that she spent enough time working on it."