The entire NFL world is sitting back waiting to see what happens with new Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. As fans know, he is facing a long list of civil lawsuits and while he was cleared criminally, the NFL has its own discipline to hand out.
There is no telling how long a suspension will be for at this point, as the league's investigation has gone on for so long. Yet that is fair, considering how new details and lawsuits continue to emerge as time passes.
The Browns, and their fans, are hoping for a short suspension. However, an indefinite one remains a possibility given the fact that this is still ongoing and because he will face all these trials in 2023.
So let's say he is hit with a definite suspension or an official one for the entire season. How will that affect him heading into 2023?
Deshaun Watson would face a tough road back in 2023
First up in this discussion comes the physical problems for any football player missing a full season. In Watson's case, he has already sat out the entire 2021 season with the Houston Texans. Missing all of 2022 would mean he would show up to begin 2023 away from an NFL field for nearly three full years.
That means rust is sure to be a factor. Another issue is that there is a higher risk of injury. NFL players train all year to keep their bodies in shape for the grueling gamedays they put themselves through. Someone like Watson who relies on their athleticism could face an injury risk after ramping up to an NFL level of speed after not being in a game for so long. He also suffered a torn ACL in college, which means he may be at a higher risk of suffering the same injury again.
Then there is the personal side of all of this. In this scenario, the Browns go all of 2022 with someone else under center. It could be Jacoby Brissett, or someone else they bring in via trade or a signing. If that player does well, is Watson still seen as some franchise savior in 2023?
He would be coming off a two-year absence and would also have served a suspension for some troubling allegations. And this is all before we know the outcome of the civil cases.
There are those who defend the quarterback, and others who want him suspended for good. Ultimately, a few people in the NFL office are going to decide his fate for the 2022 season. All fans can do is react to that decision and see how it unfolds and plays out. The entire situation is unfortunate and is casting a negative and avoidable light on the entire Browns franchise.
Poll : If Watson is suspended for the entire 2022 season will he ever play in the NFL again?