3 biggest takeaways from Deshaun Watson's first press conference with the Browns

Deshaun Watson, Image Credit: News 5 Cleveland
Deshaun Watson, Image Credit: News 5 Cleveland
Adam Hulse

Deshaun Watson was traded from the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns in a blockbuster move during the 2022 NFL offseason. The Browns sent a package of draft picks to the Texans, including three first-rounders, to acquire the superstar quarterback. The Browns also gave Watson the largest contract in NFL history as part of the deal.

Before the trade, Deshaun Watson sat out the entire 2020 NFL season while dealing with legal issues off the football field. He ultimately avoided all criminal charges but still has 22 civil lawsuits currently pending. The situation delayed his trade, but eventually, the Browns felt comfortable enough to make the move official.

On the afternoon of Friday, March 25th, Deshaun Watson held his highly anticipated introductory press conference with the Cleveland Browns. He was accompanied by Browns general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski while facing several difficult questions from the media about his situation. Here are three takeaways from the press conference.

Three things to take away from Deshaun Watson's introductory press conference with the Browns

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#1 - Watson claims he has no regrets about what has happened

Deshaun Watson, asked if he has any regrets: "I don't have any regrets. Like I said, the things off the field right now that came up caught me by surprise because I never did anything that these people are alleging."

Watson has stuck to his original course of legal action since these allegations initially came up last year. He claims that he is being falsely accused of things he didn't do and that he doesn't have any regrets about how any of this has played out.

The grand jury decided that there wasn't enough evidence to proceed with a criminal trial, so he is at least somewhat justified from a legal perspective, though he still has 22 civil lawsuits in front of him.

#2 - The Browns are prepared for a potential suspension

#Browns GM Andrew Berry said of Deshaun Watson’s low base salary (in case he’s suspended), that it’s similar to many of the high-salary contracts they have and it allows them maximum flexibility. He adds that getting an extra year of control made it more advantageous.

General manager Andrew Berry acknowledged the possibility of Deshaun Watson being suspended by the NFL due to the league's personal conduct policy. The NFL doesn't need a legal conviction to suspend a player, and they have done so before.

Watson's contract is structured to carry just $1 million in base salary for 2022 before increasing to a massive $46 million per year. If he is suspended for the 2022 season, he won't hurt the Browns much financially.

#3 - Browns support Watson while publicly keeping a neutral stance on his legal situation

Interesting moment in the final exchange in the Deshaun Watson/Browns presser... GM Andrew Berry is asked whether he believes in Watson's innocence.He said "we believe in Deshaun the person," which is a long way from saying we don't think he did anything wrong.

Andrew Berry somewhat avoided one of the final questions of the press conference when asked if he believes Deshaun Watson is innocent. Instead, he claimed that they believed in him as a person.

Whether or not the organization agreed with his actions, Berry insisted they looked into everything for five months and felt comfortable bringing him in because of his character.

The fact that neither Jimmy nor Dee Haslam, the owners of the @Browns, didn’t speak at the Deshaun Watson press conference is embarrassing and cowardly. Says a lot about them that they’d let others face the questions. Also telling that they probably have no good answers.

While Jimmy Haslam and the Browns ownership group weren't in attendance to give their perspective on the situation, they will hold their separate conference to address the media via Zoom.

Edited by Piyush Bisht


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