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Deshaun Watson Ruling Could ‘Bump Up Against’ Browns Training Camp, per Report

Editors’ note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at

Those waiting for a ruling from Sue Robinson, the league and NFLPA’s independent arbitrator in the Deshaun Watson hearing, regarding his status for the 2022 season could have to wait until closer to the start of Browns training camp for a final decision.

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, a ruling on Watson from the U.S. District Court judge could “bump up against” and possibly even “overlap” with the Browns first day of camp, July 27. One possible reason for the extended timeline is that Robinson hopes to give the NFL and Watson another chance to settle on a suspension length in the coming week, per Yahoo.

The NFL may have added urgency to reach a settlement, as Yahoo also reported that Watson and the NFLPA plan to file a lawsuit against the league in federal court if Robinson rules that a lengthy suspension is the final verdict, or if commissioner Roger Goodell steps into appeal Robinson’s ruling and makes the ultimate decision on Watson’s punishment. The NFL is reportedly seeking a year-long suspension for the Browns quarterback, which led previous settlement talks between the two sides to break down, according to The MMQB’s Albert Breer.

Robinson overheard arguments from the NFL, the NFLPA and Watson during the league hearing in late June. According to Breer, the NFL presented the cases of five women during the three-day-long proceedings.

Following the conclusion of the hearing, no exact timeline was given as to when Robinson would announce her ruling.

Watson still faces four active civil lawsuits, after 20 were settled in June, filed by massage therapists, each detailing graphic accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurred during massage therapy sessions. The accounts range from Watson allegedly refusing to cover his genitals to the quarterback “touching [a plaintiff] with his penis and trying to force her to perform oral sex on him.”

In June, The New York Times’ Jenny Vrentas reported that Watson booked at least 66 women over the span of 17 months for massage therapy sessions. The report also found that a Houston spa and the Texans “enabled” his massage habit, with the franchise providing facilities and nondisclosure agreements. It also found that the quarterback’s lawyer and the prosecutors at the district attorney’s office on the criminal cases had been in extensive contact leading up to the two grand juries. According to Vrentas, Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lawyer, “began a regular dialogue” with the Harris County sex crimes prosecutor in early 2022.

The quarterback has denied all allegations against him, and two Texas grand juries declined to indict him on criminal charges.

With the civil suits still ongoing, Cleveland traded for Watson in March and signed him to a five-year contract worth a guaranteed $230 millionA clause built into the contract mandates Watson will lose only $55,556 for every game he’s suspended this season.

Last Friday, attorney Tony Buzbee, who has represented the plaintiffs throughout the legal proceedings, announced that 30 women who made or planned to make claims against the Texans for the organization’s role in Watson’s sexual misconduct allegations resolved their claims.