‘I’m Ahead Of The Game’: Browns QB Deshaun Watson Excited For Second Season In Cleveland

Returning to the field in 2022 after nearly two full seasons away, things went about as expected for much-maligned Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

In his return after an 11-game suspension for sexual assault allegations, which also kept him off the field for the entire 2021 season as he waited for a trade from the Houston Texans, Watson largely struggled. He completed just 58.2 percent of his passes for 1,102 yards and seven touchdowns as Cleveland went 3-3 with him under center and scored more than 14 points just twice.

That initial return on a player the Browns gave a $230 million guaranteed contract and traded three first-round picks for, taking a significant public relations hit in the process, wasn’t good enough.

Entering his second season with the Browns though, Watson is feeling like himself again and feels he’s “ahead of the game” compared to where he was previously last season.

Honestly, it’s night and day,” Watson told reporters Tuesday as the Browns returned to the facility for the start of Phase One offseason activities“Last year, it was just a whirlwind, but it was a good learning lesson for myself and for me to be able to grow. Coming in this year, I’m ahead of the game from where I was previously.”

It was certainly understandable that Watson looked rusty and uncomfortable in a new city, a new scheme and with new teammates around him following the 11-game suspension and his return to the field after two seasons away. The 27-year-old Watson will need to hit the ground running in 2023 if the Browns are to be the contenders they envisioned themselves being after they pulled off the heavily criticized trade for the former star quarterback.
Gaining that experience last season was vital for Watson. Entering an offseason with no suspension looming — and the focus seemingly only on football for the time being — should help the former Pro Bowl signal caller get close to the level he played at during his four seasons in Houston.
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