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Deshaun Watson intends to “continue to clear my name as much as possible”

Mike Florio and Charean Williams discuss the news that a second grand jury decided not to indict QB Deshaun Watson on an additional criminal complaint.

When pressed regarding details as to the 22 civil lawsuits pending against him, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson cited the ongoing investigation and retreated to pre-planned talking points during his introductory press conference.

I never assaulted, disrespected, or harassed any woman in my life.

He also was asked whether he plans to settle the cases.

“My intent is to continue to clear my name as much as possible,” Watson told reporters.

This implies that he plans to keep aggressively defending himself. And it sets the stage for the NFL to eventually place him on the Commissioner exempt list until the cases are resolved. That would mean, if it happens, that Watson would be placed on paid leave possibly for all of the 2022 season, while the 22 cases continue to move toward trial.

If the 22 cases are tried individually (and they likely will be), that’s 22 separate trials. It would take half of a year, at a minimum, to process all of them, even if they happen back to back to back to back and so on.

That said, the cases could settle at any time. If Watson seems too anxious to settle, however, it becomes more expensive to do so. But if he decides to keep fighting, he needs to realize that he could spend all of a second season on the sidelines, given that the league may not be comfortable allowing someone with so many sexual assault cases pending against him to play football.