Deshaun Watson didn't speak Wednesday, as expected.
Speaking for him instead, Watson's teammates praised his talent and admitted there's a buzz in the Cleveland Browns' locker room this week heading into Watson's return to the field after his lengthy suspension.
"We're all excited," said Browns running back Nick Chubb. "We've waited a long time for him to come back."
Watson just finished serving an 11-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy by committing sexual assault, as defined by the NFL, on massage therapists. He also had to pay a $5 million fine and undergo a mandatory treatment program.
Watson's return Sunday against this former team, the Houston Texans, will mark exactly 700 days since he last played in a regular-season game (with the Texans on Jan. 3, 2021).
Watson has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Over the summer, he agreed to settle 23 of the 24 civil lawsuits against him. A 25th lawsuit was dropped by the plaintiff when the judge ruled that her petition had to be amended with her name. Two other women filed criminal complaints against Watson but didn't sue him. On Oct. 13, another woman filed a lawsuit against Watson, claiming he pressured her into oral sex during a massage session in 2020.