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#pounditSaturday, July 2, 2022

Report: NFL aiming for lengthy Deshaun Watson suspension

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is nearing the end of its investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Deshaun Watson, and the Cleveland Browns star could be on the verge of being hit with a lengthy suspension.

Multiple people familiar with the Watson investigation told Mark Maske of the Washington Post on Friday that the NFL is seeking a “significant” suspension for Watson. The belief is that Watson could be suspended for a full season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

One person that Maske spoke with cautioned that it is difficult to predict a precise length of the ban but said “significant would be the proper term.” The NFL will present the findings of its investigation to former U.S. district judge Sue. L. Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association as the disciplinary officer under the latest collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL is hoping to wrap up the disciplinary process — including a potential appeal from Watson — before the start of training camp. The Browns open camp on July 27.

Watson is facing 24 sexual assault lawsuits from massage therapists who claim they worked with him. More could be filed in the coming days and weeks.

A recent report claimed Watson had a total of at least 66 different massage therapists over a 17-month span. The quarterback was asked about that during a press conference at minicamp this week.

The Browns signed Watson to a fully guaranteed $230 million extension after they acquired him in a trade with the Houston Texans this offseason. The contract may be structured in a way that protects Watson against a lengthy suspension.

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