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Deshaun Watson’s pre-trial depositions will continue on Friday

After a report surfaced that many believe the Browns tried to make Baker Mayfield look as ‘hapless’ as possible in Week 17 against the Steelers, Mike Florio and Chris Simms weigh in on what the motivations were.

One of the very real consequences by being sued by 22 different people is that the defendant will have to give 22 different pre-trial depositions. For Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, that process will continue during the Cleveland offseason program.

Via Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today, Watson will be deposed again on Friday, which is the weekly off day in the team’s offseason program.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, had tried to stop any Watson depositions from occurring during the series of offseason practices that will run through the middle of June. Given that teams are only actually in the building four days each week, a fifth business day is always available.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 22 plaintiffs, has questioned Watson in seven of the lawsuits. Watson needs to be questioned in 15 more cases.

Harris County Judge Rabeea Collier suggested that the parties consider conducting depositions on a Saturday, and that Watson consider waiving the agreed limit of deposition time to two hours per day.

Saturday depositions are not uncommon in the legal profession. If that’s when a witness is available or if the broader needs of the case compel it, depositions happen any day of the week, morning, noon, or night.

And it’s no burden to be questioned more than two hours in a given day. Witnesses often spend seven hours or more testifying in a given day. Watson should want to get these over and done with.

Judge Collier also extended the pre-trial discovery period in the 22 cases from June 23 to July 1. That gives plenty of extra time to complete the questioning at a time when Watson won’t be working in Cleveland.

And if you thought getting the depositions scheduled had become an ordeal, wait until the time comes to try the cases. It’s incredibly optimistic to believe all 22 cases will be tried in the 2023 offseason. Barring one or more settlements (18 of these cases could have been settled last October, but Watson declined to settle fewer than all of them), this series of distractions could linger for the player, the team, and its fans well into 2024.