BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns are set to hold their first practice of training camp on Wednesday.
And as is usually the case, all eyes will be on the quarterback position.
But while many will be interested in seeing how Deshaun Watson performs in his first training camp practice as a member of the Browns, there are obviously other reasons why the spotlight will be on the 3-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Most notably, Watson is still waiting on a decision on his potential punishment -- including a likely suspension -- stemming from several allegations of sexual misconduct, including harassment and assault, during his time with the Houston Texans.
While many expected a decision to have been made on Watson's punishment by this point, the independent arbiter in his case, former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson has yet to issue a ruling. Once she does, either Watson or the NFL can make an appeal -- so long as she issues some sort of punishment -- which would then be heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or a designee.
All that's to say, there's still no shortage of uncertainty when it comes to Watson's immediate future and availability in Cleveland. As a result, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski will have to decide how to divide first-team reps between Watson and Jacoby Brissett, who will likely serve as Cleveland's starter during any potential suspension.
Once Robinson issues a ruling, however, it will bring more clarity to not only the Browns' quarterback situation, but their immediate outlook for the 2022 season. It will also bring an end -- at least from a football standpoint -- to more than a year's worth of speculation regarding Watson's football future.
While two Texas grand juries have declined to indict the Clemson product on criminal charges, he still faces potential punishment from the NFL if Robinson rules that he violated the league's Personal Conduct Policy. Ahead of last month's disciplinary hearing with the league, Watson settled 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits he was facing regarding the allegations, with a 25th having been dropped.
Earlier this month, the Texans, reached settlements with 30 women regarding allegations that they enabled the star quarterback's behavior during his time with the team. In a statement, the Texans said they admitted no guilt in making the settlements.