Quarterback Deshaun Watson suspended 6 games, will miss Falcons game in 2022

The Georgia native will miss the week 4 game against the Falcons at Mercedes Benz Stadium
FILE - Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) scrambles against the Cincinnati Bengals...
FILE - Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) scrambles against the Cincinnati Bengals during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Houston.(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:38 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46/AP) - The impact of the NFL imposing a six-game suspension on quarterback Deshaun Watson on Monday morning will be felt on and off the field In 2022.

He will miss the first six games, including the Atlanta Falcons game in week 4 of the 2022 regular season on Oct. 2 at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

This comes after a police investigation sparked by lawsuits filed by 22 women who have accused him of sexual assault and harassment.

The Cleveland Browns traded for former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson earlier this offseason.

The NFL has three days to appeal the decision by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. The NFL Players’ Association already stated it would abide by her ruling. If either side appeals, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he designates will make the decision, per terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The union then could try to challenge that ruling in federal court.

The league had pushed for an indefinite suspension of at least one year and at least a $5 million fine for the 26-year-old Watson and Gainesville native during a three-day hearing before Robinson in June.

In June, a person familiar with the league’s investigation told the Associated Press Watson’s decision to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct may not dissuade the NFL from giving him a lengthy suspension.

Officials say Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents all 24 women, previously said in a statement that once the paperwork is finished on the 20 settlements, “those particular cases will be dismissed.”

According to ESPN.com, Watson is not expected to be fined by the NFL, a source told Adam Schefter.

Watson is eligible to return for the Browns’ Oct. 23 game against AFC North division rival Baltimore Ravens.

The NFL Players Association, in a statement Sunday night, made it clear that it will “stand by” Robinson’s ruling and urged the NFL to do the same.

The 2017 first-round draft pick, who signed a fully guaranteed $230 million, five-year contract, will lose only $345,000 if the suspension is unchanged because his base salary this season is $1.035 million. His $45 million signing bonus is not affected by the suspension.

In March, a grand jury declined to indict the former Houston Texans quarterback following a police investigation sparked by lawsuits filed by 22 women who have accused him of sexual assault and harassment.

The grand jury’s decision came about a year after the women first filed their suits, accusing Watson of exposing himself, touching them with his penis or kissing them against their will during massage appointments. One woman alleged Watson forced her to perform oral sex.

Houston police began investigating Watson in April 2021 after a criminal complaint was filed. The FBI also was reviewing the allegations.

Prosecutors presented evidence and testimony to the grand jury for over six hours on Friday related to nine criminal complaints against Watson, Johna Stallings, chief of the adult sex crimes and trafficking division with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said. She declined to say what possible charges were presented to the grand jury for consideration.

“We respect the grand jury’s decision,” Stallings said back in March.

Stallings said that decision ended criminal proceedings related to Watson in Harris County, where Houston is located.

Watson’s lawyers have said “some sexual activity” happened during some of the massage appointments but that he never coerced anyone.

The Browns recently signed Georgia native Felix Harper. Felix was also joined by Georgia University’s Jake Fromm at the Browns’ 2022 NFL Rookie Camp.

Felix participated in the Browns’ rookie minicamp on a tryout basis and successfully made it onto the training camp roster as a quarterback.