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Report: 'Heightened Hope' Deshaun Watson, NFL Can Reach Suspension Settlement

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 17, 2022

Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Recent discussions between the NFL and representatives for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson have "heightened hope" that a settlement can be reached over his pending suspension, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.

A resolution could come Wednesday or Thursday, per Graziano.

Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson gave Watson a six-game suspension for violating the league's personal-conduct policy, but the NFL is appealing the decision and seeking harsher punishment.

"That was something that we felt was our right to do, as well as the NFLPA's, and we decided it was the right thing to do," commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters.

Watson faced 25 civil lawsuits from women accusing him of sexual assault or sexual misconduct during massages. One case was dropped and 23 more were settled.

Robinson referenced "relevant precedent" to determine the length of the suspension, although the NFL was seeking a suspension of at least one year, plus a fine and mandatory treatment, according to ESPN's Jake Trotter.

Watson's team is willing to accept an eight-game suspension as well as a $5 million fine, per Rob Maaddi and Tom Withers of the Associated Press.

The divide between the two sides seemingly made an agreement unlikely, although recent talks have apparently closed the gap. Without a deal, the case will be heard by arbiter Peter C. Harvey, who will make a final decision.

Watson is heading into his first season with the Browns after an offseason trade from the Houston Texans. He signed a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract with Cleveland. The three-time Pro Bowler sat out all last season while seeking a trade, although he was not disciplined by the NFL and earned his full salary.

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