Browns plan to play Deshaun Watson in preseason, but he won’t play the first six weeks of regular season
The NFL Players Association did not appeal the six-game suspension imposed on Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. Thus, unless the appeal filed by the NFL results in no suspension at all (highly unlikely), Watson will miss the first six weeks of the regular season.
The question is whether he’ll return in Week Seven, at Baltimore. If a longer suspension is imposed on him via appeal, and if a lawsuit challenging the league’s process is filed, the earliest he’d return is Week Seven -- if the lawsuit produces the desired results.
Until Week One, he can practice and play. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Browns plan to use Watson during the preseason. Whether he plays in all three games and the extent of his playing time remains to be seen.
There’s one last thing to remember. The appeal could potentially result in an immediate suspension that lasts at least one year. It’s possible that a ban of that duration would result in Watson being banned immediately.
The Browns play at the Jaguars next Friday. They host the Eagles and Bears in Weeks Two and Three of the preseason, respectively.