CLEVELAND — Dating back to the Cleveland Browns' acquisition of Deshaun Watson in March, many in Northeast Ohio have been anxiously awaiting word on a potential suspension for the star quarterback, who has been accused by several women of sexual misconduct, including harassment and assault.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, however, insists that he doesn't fit into that category.
"No, I check the weather," Stefanski answered when asked if wakes up every day looking for a decision.
Despite his dry sense of humor, that's not to say that the 2020 NFL Coach of the Year isn't aware of the impact such a suspension could have on his team. As such, Stefanski shared that the Browns already have a plan in place for splitting training camp reps in anticipation that their 3-time Pro Bowl quarterback won't be available for multiple -- perhaps several -- games to start the season.
"We have a plan," Stefanski said ahead of his team's first training camp practice on Wednesday. "And as information becomes available, we can adjust that plan."
While Stefanski wouldn't reveal the details of that plan, he did confirm that veteran backup Jacoby Brissett will serve as Cleveland's starting quarterback in any games that Watson is set to miss. Last week, the Browns added another quarterback to their roster when they signed 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen, who is expected to compete with Josh Dobbs for the team's No. 3 quarterback spot and the backup role behind Brissett during any suspension for Watson.
Asked how he would divide first-team reps between Watson and Brissett considering the uncertainty of the situation, Stefanski only shared that "they're both going to get a ton of reps." The third-year head coach also admitted that he'll factor in that Watson missed the entirety of the 2021 season into his approach.
As for when a decision could be made on a potential suspension, both Watson and the NFL are awaiting word from his case's independent arbiter, former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson. Once she does, either Watson or the NFL can make an appeal -- so long as she issues some sort of punishment -- which would then be heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or a designee.
While two Texas grand juries have declined to indict the 26-year-old quarterback on criminal charges, he still faces potential punishment from the NFL if Robinson rules that he violated the league's Personal Conduct Policy. Ahead of last month's disciplinary hearing with the league, Watson settled 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits he was facing regarding the allegations, with a 25th having been dropped.
Earlier this month, the Texans, reached settlements with 30 women regarding allegations that they enabled the star quarterback's behavior during his time with the team. In a statement, the Texans said they admitted no guilt in making the settlements.