Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is still serving an 11-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, but he recently took a step toward his eventual return.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Watson is now permitted to return to the Browns facility for the first time since being suspended, and he's "on track" to meet the requirements for his return, which also included mandatory counseling and a $5 million fine.
While Watson is back in the building, he won't be around his teammates for quite some time. He's still not allowed to attend group workouts, practices, games and club-sponsored events. He also still can't speak to the media.
For the time being, Watson is restricted to individual workouts. Rapoport noted that he can "participate in on-site rehab with the medical staff, meet with non-football staff, attend meetings, meet individually with head coach Kevin Stefanski, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and quarterbacks coach Drew Petzing." He's permitted to eat meals in the cafeteria, as well.
Watson was previously not allowed to have any contact with coaches, enter the team building or receive a playbook as part of the terms of his suspension. The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a settlement following an appeal of Watson's initial six-game suspension that stemmed from an investigation into sexual assault and misconduct allegations from more than 20 women against him.
During his suspension, Watson has spent three days a week throwing for 90 minutes at an Ohio facility with his personal QB coach Quincy Avery, per Rapoport. The goal was to simulate Cleveland's practice schedule during a game week.
"We do it basically like we would if he was there (with the Browns)," Avery said. "So, the first two days we go full pads, then the last day in helmets—whatever the team would be wearing that day."
Watson will be allowed to return to team practice on Nov. 14 before he is eligible to be reinstated on Nov. 28 ahead of Cleveland's Week 13 game against the Houston Texans, with whom Watson had spent the first five years of his NFL career.