Sports

Watson visits Browns while second grand jury refuses to charge

CLEVELAND – Deshaun Watson’s first day with the Browns was anything but routine, for him or his new team.

When Watson arrived in Cleveland for a physical exam and perhaps finally answered questions about his past behavior, a second Texas grand jury refused to charge the quarterback, who was charged with sexual misconduct by 22 women and still faces lawsuits. civilians.

A Brazoria County grand jury met Thursday and heard evidence related to a criminal complaint filed with Houston police by one of 22 massage therapists, who accused Watson of harassing or assaulting them during the sessions.

The decision followed another similar one by a grand jury in Harris County, which refused to charge Watson on March 11, prompting a chase by the Browns and other teams by one of the league’s top QBs.

Announcement

“As a result, this matter is closed,” Brazoria County District Attorney Tom Selleck said in a statement.

Just hours earlier, Watson, wearing an orange jacket from the Browns, arrived at the team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio. His trip to Ohio was delayed so Watson could testify in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday in some civil lawsuits.

Television cameras caught Watson entering the premises shortly before noon and being escorted upstairs. He underwent a physical exam, the final step in finalizing his $ 230 million contract, and the Browns were still preparing plans for a possible presentation press conference on Friday.

If he meets with the media, it will be the first time reporters can ask Watson about the allegations or the property and the Browns’ main office about his decision to trade for the 26-year-old with so much legal baggage.

The Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office did not begin investigating the other complaint until it was nine o’clock in Harris County, said Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lead attorney.

Announcement

According to the woman’s claim, during two massage sessions in November 2020 at a home in the Pearland suburb of Houston, Brazoria County, Watson tried to touch her penis and ejaculated during the session.

Watson maintained his innocence while saying that any sexual activity during the sessions was consensual.

In their lawsuits, the 22 women accused Watson of exposing himself, touching them with his penis or kissing them against his will. One woman alleged that Watson forced her to have oral sex.

Hardin said the Browns were aware of the second grand jury before signing Watson last week.

Watson, a three-time Pro Bowler who has not been in the 2020 season after demanding a change, surprised the NFL by choosing Cleveland to restart his career over other teams after initially telling the Browns he was not interested in playing with them.

However, he may have been influenced by the team’s roster ready for the playoffs and the contract he scored.

Announcement

Up to this point, the Browns’ only comments about his pursuit of Watson came in statements from Dee and Jimmy Haslam, who insisted that the team go through a “comprehensive evaluation process” before deciding to pursue Watson and eventually file him. .

The Haslams flew to Houston last week and met with Watson along with Browns general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski.

“He was humble, sincere and sincere,” Haslam said. “In our conversations, Deshaun detailed his commitment to leading our team; he understands and accepts the hard work needed to build his name both in the community and in the countryside. “

The Browns traded three first-round picks and six overall picks to the Texans for Watson, who may eventually end Cleveland’s decades-long search for a franchise quarterback.

Watson, however, is still facing NFL discipline and is likely to miss at least part of the 2022 season. personal conduct.

Announcement

One person familiar with the league’s thinking told The Associated Press that placing Watson on the commissioner’s waiver list is a big consideration because he intends to play for the Browns.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not have to exercise that right in 2021 because Watson has not been with the Texans all season.

The person, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the league’s investigation is ongoing, said Watson will not “get a pass” if civil lawsuits are resolved. He would then face a suspension and require counseling before being allowed to play.

With Watson on board, the Browns are trying to switch to Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 who had a tough 2020 season altered by injuries. Mayfield requested the change after learning of the Browns’ interest in Watson.

Cleveland has also signed former Indianapolis incumbent Jacoby Brissett as an alternate and safe in case Watson is suspended.

Announcement

On Wednesday night, Browns quarterback Greg Newsome II said he did not know Watson, but that he and his teammates were looking forward to meeting him.

“We just have to feel it,” Newsome told the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards. “We don’t know him as anything at the moment, so we just have to know him.”

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Associated Press writer Juan Lozano in Houston and NFL writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report.

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Watson visits Browns while second grand jury refuses to charge

Source link Watson visits Browns while second grand jury refuses to charge

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