NFL

Deshaun Watson insists he is innocent of wrongdoing at Browns mini-camp

By Sports Desk June 14, 2022

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson repeated that he is innocent of the inappropriate sexual conduct alleged in the now 24 lawsuits against him when speaking publicly for the first time in nearly three months.

Despite the increasing number of civil suits against him, including two more filed within the last 15 days, Watson has insisted he is innocent.

Watson is accused of sexual assault and harassment by over two dozen massage therapists who visited his home for private sessions while he played for the Houston Texans.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson, said on Monday that he plans to file two more lawsuits against the embattled quarterback.

"I never assaulted anyone," Watson told reporters on Tuesday following practice at Browns mini-camp. "I never harassed anyone, or I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything. I just want to clear my name.

"I've been honest and I've been truthful about my stance. I never forced on anyone and I never assaulted anyone. That's what I've been saying since the beginning and I'll continue to do that until all the facts come out."

Last week, the New York Times reported that Watson hired at least 66 different women for private massages over the course of 17 months, including all 24 plaintiffs.

Despite Watson’s legal troubles, the Browns convinced him to drop his no-trade clause and gave him a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract after acquiring him this off-season.

The 26-year-old quarterback had criminal complaints dropped in two Texas counties, but both he and the Browns continue to face public backlash.

Watson’s short-term future on the field hangs in the balance as the NFL conducts its own investigation into whether he has violated the league’s code of conduct. Commissioner Roger Goodell said during spring meetings that the investigation was nearing an end but would not name a target date.

"I can't control that," Watson said. "I did everything they asked me to do. I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me.

"That's all I can do, is be honest and tell them exactly what happened. They have a job, and so I have to respect that. And that's what we want to do is cooperate. They have to make a decision that's best for the league."

Related items

  • New York Jets officially sign veteran left tackle Duane Brown New York Jets officially sign veteran left tackle Duane Brown

    The New York Jets have bolstered their offensive line, officially agreeing to terms with veteran left tackle Duane Brown on Monday.

    The two sides reportedly agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $22million last week after right tackle Mekhi Becton sustained a season-ending injury at practice.

    Brown earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection last season with the Seattle Seahawks and is expected to start at left tackle with his former Seattle team-mate George Fant moving to the right side.

    Fant was projected to start at left tackle this season with Becton on the right side but after the latter's injury, Fant will move to the right side keeping Brown in his familiar spot on the left.

    Brown, who turns 37 later this month, has played in every game in three of the past four seasons and missed just four over that span. His 203 career starts – all at left tackle – are the most of any active offensive lineman.

    A first-round pick of the Houston Texans in 2008, Brown earned first-team All-Pro honours with the Texans in 2012. He spent nine-plus seasons in Houston before being traded to Seattle during the 2017 campaign following a contract dispute.

    The Jets begin the season on September 11 against the Baltimore Ravens and are hopeful of having Zach Wilson at quarterback for the opener.

    Wilson suffered a bone bruise and torn meniscus in Friday's preseason opener and is undergoing surgery on Tuesday.

    He is expected to be sidelined two to four weeks, but the team will have a better idea of his recovery time after the procedure.

  • Shanahan believes in Lance but 49ers' QB won't 'make or break' season Shanahan believes in Lance but 49ers' QB won't 'make or break' season

    Trey Lance has the belief of Kyle Shanahan, but the San Francisco 49ers' head coach does not believe his starting quarterback will "make or break" their 2022 season.

    Lance will be the Niners' starter in 2022, replacing Jimmy Garoppolo, who is likely to be released when rosters are trimmed to 53 players if San Francisco cannot find a trade partner.

    San Francisco reached Super Bowl LIV with Garoppolo as the starter in the 2019 campaign and narrowly lost last season's NFC Championship Game with the former New England Patriot under center.

    However, the Niners traded three first-round picks to move up to the third overall pick in the 2021 draft and select Lance out of North Dakota State, believing him to have the physical gifts and the mental attributes to take their offense to the next level.

    They will now see their assessment of Lance put to the test across a full season. Lance started two games in relief of an injured Garoppolo last year and, prior to that, had only one full season of college football under his belt. That came in 2019 when he threw for 28 touchdowns and ran for a further 14 without throwing a single interception as Lance led North Dakota State to an FCS National Championship.

    That lack of seasoning makes Lance one of the biggest unknowns of the 2022 season, but head coach Shanahan does not think his performance will be the defining factor for an extremely well-rounded team harbouring Super Bowl aspirations.

    "Is Trey ready to take it on his shoulders?" Shanahan told Peter King's Football Morning in America. "He shouldn't be. He hasn't gone through it enough.

    "I believe in him as a man, as a person. I believe in his talent. I don't think he is going to make or break our season, just like in 2019 and last year, I didn't think Jimmy was going to make or break our season."

    Shanahan, though, suggested attempting to deliver for a team under pressure to win a sixth Super Bowl title after going agonisingly close in two of the last three seasons could negatively impact Lance.

    "But what sucks is when you're learning how to play and you're not there yet, how do you not get worse sometimes when that pressure's on you and you need to go through the growing pains?" Shanahan added.

    Lance went 1-1 as a starter last year, throwing for 603 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions in his brief time on the field. He also ran for 168 yards and a touchdown.

    According to Stats Perform data, Lance was the second-most aggressive quarterback in the NFL in terms of pushing the ball downfield. Among quarterbacks with at least 50 pass attempts, only Drew Lock (10.20) averaged more air yards than Lance (10.10). 

    Lance was still accurate despite regularly attempting low-percentage throws. No player to average at least 9.0 air yards had a better well-thrown rate than Lance, who delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 77.1 per cent of his attempts.

    In his first preseason game of 2022, Lance played two offensive series, completing four of his five passes for 92 yards including a 76-yard touchdown to rookie wide receiver Danny Gray in a 28-21 win over the Green Bay Packers.

    Lance will take part in joint practices between the 49ers and Minnesota Vikings this week but will not play in Saturday's second preseason game.

  • McDaniels calls Allegiant Stadium debut 'the best atmosphere in a preseason game that I've ever been a part of' McDaniels calls Allegiant Stadium debut 'the best atmosphere in a preseason game that I've ever been a part of'

    New Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels gushed over the atmosphere during his first game at Allegiant Stadium, where his side defeated the Minnesota Vikings 26-20 on Sunday.

    With the established stars all sitting out, Raiders backup quarterbacks Nick Mullens and Jarrett Stidham both performed well, with Mullens going seven-for-nine for 94 yards and a touchdown, while Stidham completed 10-of-15 passes for 68 yards, also adding 16 yards and a rushing touchdown with his legs.

    In a game that featured veteran receivers Demarcus Robinson, Keelan Cole and Mack Hollins, it was rookie D.J. Turner who stood out for the Raiders, with 58 yards and a touchdown while catching three of his four targets.

    Over 61,000 packed into Allegiant Stadium for their first taste of competitive football this season, and McDaniels said he had never seen anything like it for what is essentially a meaningless game.

    "This was a special day," he said. "I've been around a lot of preseason games over 22 years, and I don't remember one feeling like this.

    "The reception from our fans – getting to know Raider nation the way that you see them now – it's just different.

    "I've competed against them a handful of times in my time in the NFL, but to now be on the same side, you understand why it is what it is.

    "I'm lucky and blessed to be the head coach here. That is the best atmosphere in a preseason game that I've ever been a part of, and that's easy to say that, clearly.

    "I can't wait to play another time in here, and then get to the regular season and have the opportunity to do it for real in regular games, but what a great, passionate fanbase we have. To have the girls here, and my son on the sideline, it's a special day."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.