On Friday, Deshaun Watson took the field for the first time as a member of the Cleveland Browns in a preseason game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But before that, he issued an apology of sorts regarding his alleged acts of sexual misconduct.
It may not have been the type of apology most have wanted to hear from him, though.
Deshaun spoke with Aditi Kinkhabwala ahead of starting tonight's game in Jacksonville. pic.twitter.com/9kuHxI9ULh
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 12, 2022
“I want to say that I’m truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation,” Watson said during an in-house interview on the Browns’ pregame show that aired on Cleveland News 5.
“The decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position I would definitely like to have back,” he said on the Browns’ pregame show, “but I want to continue to move forward and grow and learn and show that I am a true person of character and I am going to keep pushing forward.”
The Watson saga continues to hang over the Browns like a stubborn thundercloud, and it is not clear when a resolution will be achieved.
Independent arbitrator Sue Robinson issued him a six-game suspension, but the NFL appealed the decision and has appointed former New Jersey attorney general Peter Harvey to hear to appeal.
It has been reported that Watson’s camp would be willing to settle for an eight-game suspension and a hefty fine, but it is unknown if the league would be willing to haggle with him.
The quarterback has made very few public comments about his alleged acts of misconduct, but he has previously said he had no regrets about his actions during those incidents.
No Apology Will Quell The Public Outcry
Many around the NFL, and even some who don’t watch football, such as women’s advocacy groups, have been disgusted by Watson’s actions and the Browns’ decision to trade for him and give him a $230 million contract.
The saga seems to have played into the dismay that some have over the NFL’s handling of various off-the-field incidents.
When the Browns’ offense took the field at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., the partisan crowd erupted in a profane chant directed at Watson.
He played just one series and did poorly, completing just 1-of-5 passes for a grand total of just seven yards.
Deshaun Watson's night is over. He goes 1/5 for 7 yards. Those 7 yards were all the offense was able to do on 3 drives.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) August 12, 2022
It was perfectly understandable that he played so badly, as it was the first time he had played a pro football game in 19 months, going back to the end of the 2020 season.
He was held out last season after asking to be traded from the Houston Texans.
After Watson exited the game, Josh Rosen and Joshua Dobbs got the rest of Cleveland’s snaps under center.
Both did well, as Rosen went 6-of-7 and Dobbs completed 10-of-13 passes, including a strike to rookie running back Jerome Ford for a touchdown.
The Browns defeated the Jaguars 24-13, but Watson’s situation seemed to at least somewhat overshadow the actual game.
Things Are Already Looking Bad For The Browns Just A Few Weeks After The Start Of Training Camp
It’s still mid-summer, but the type of bad luck Browns fans are used to already seems to be in midseason form.
Besides the Watson situation, the team has gotten extremely thin at wide receiver.
Anthony Schwartz and rookie David Bell suffered minor injuries earlier, although Schwartz did play on Friday.
Michael Woods II and Jakeem Grant are also out, Woods with a hamstring ailment and Grant with an injured Achilles.
In addition, star cornerback Denzel Ward has been out for several weeks with a foot injury.
Most teams want to get out of training camp and the preseason without any significant injuries, and unfortunately, the Browns will not succeed in that regard.