The NFL's disciplinary hearing involving Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson concluded Thursday, ending the proceedings after three days, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Per ESPN's Dan Graziano, Judge Sue Robinson requested post-hearing briefs to be submitted in the week of July 11, so a final decision on Watson's punishment isn't expected for a few weeks.
Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported earlier this week that the NFLPA "has maintained throughout its deliberations with the NFL" that Watson shouldn't face a suspension, but the league is pushing for an indefinite suspension of at least one full season.
Watson had faced 24 lawsuits from women who alleged sexual assault or misconduct during massage sessions from when he was a member of the Houston Texans. Two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against him.
Settlements were reached in 20 of those lawsuits, but attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents many of the women, announced June 13 that two more will be filed. On Monday, the Texans were named as defendants in ongoing civil litigation against Watson. Buzbee stated that there was "overwhelming evidence collected indicating that the Houston Texans enabled Watson's behavior."
Watson, who has maintained his innocence, was traded to the Browns in March and signed a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract extension. The team likely expected that Watson will be suspended as his base salary for 2022 is just $1.03 million, per Spotrac. That number will jump to $46 million next year.
If Watson is suspended for the 2022 season, it will be his second straight year without playing in an NFL game. The 26-year-old led the Texans to a 4-12 record in 2020.