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What's Right Suspension For Texans Ex Deshaun Watson?

With settlements reportedly in the works and a suspension potentially looming - what is the NFL's track record when it comes to suspensions?

As settlements reportedly begin to finalize and a potentially lengthy suspension draws ever nearer for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, the question that must be asked is: What suspension length is appropriate?

It is imperative that it's noted that two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges earlier this year. However, as it stands, 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and misconduct have been settled.

Watson has also maintained his innocence throughout - including when he spoke to the Cleveland media last week.

Back to the matter at hand. A case of this size is unprecedented in the NFL, meaning there are no exact prior examples of the appropriate punishments to go off of for the league.

With reports suggesting that the league is preparing to suspend Watson for a year, it's worth looking back at the NFL's recent track record of suspensions both regarding cases of a similar nature, and others - from which you can make your own judgment on whether or not Watson's proposed punishment meets the alleged offenses.

Calvin Ridley (Gambling) - Indefinite

After reportedly betting $1,500 on games while absent from the Atlanta Falcons in 2021, the league handed Ridley an indefinite suspension.

DeAndre Hopkins, Bradley Roby, Will Fuller (PED violation) - Six games

Three former Texans here. Hopkins was suspended in May for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. This came after Roby and Fuller were both suspended back in November of 2020, for also violating the aforementioned policy.

Myles Garrett (Unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct) - Six games

Initially suspended indefinitely by the league in 2019 for a brawl involving Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, Garrett eventually returned the following season having missed six games.

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Michael Vick (Found guilty of running dogfighting ring) - Nearly two years

After being found guilty of running a dogfighting ring, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback was indefinitely suspended by the NFL. Vick went on to spend 18 months behind bars and was eventually reinstated, having been suspended for just shy of two years.

Ben Roethlisberger (Personal conduct policy violations) - Four games

Initially suspended for six games before dropping to four, Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault by a college student in Georgia. The former Pittsburgh Steeler was not arrested, charged, or convicted of any crimes, but he did have to undergo a "comprehensive behavioral evaluation.''

Ezekiel Elliott (Personal conduct policy violations) - Six games

The Dallas Cowboys running back was suspended for six games in 2017 after being accused of incidents of domestic violence. 

Jameis Winston (Personal conduct policy violations) - Three games

This came after Winston was accused of groping an Uber driver back in 2016. Winston was also "required to obtain a clinical evaluation and fully cooperate in any recommended program of therapeutic intervention."

Ray Rice (Personal conduct policy violations) - Two months

Suspended for two games back in 2014, this was later altered to an indefinite suspension after video footage emerged of him beating his fiancee in an elevator. However, two months after being indefinitely suspended, Rice won an appeal that allowed him to be reinstated by the league. 

Where does Deshaun Watson stand among all of this? Keep in mind something called "Article 46'' of the CBA, which essentially gives the commissioner the power to do ... well, almost anything, which is why some of these punishments don't always seem to line up in orderly fashion.