Deshaun Watson will miss the first 11 games of the Cleveland Browns although his reinstatement would depend on whether he can successfully satisfy the mandatory evaluation and counseling that were included in his NFL settlement.

Last Aug. 18, Watson agreed to a settlement where he would be suspended for 11 games and be required to pay a fine of $5 million. But one of the overlooked aspects of that was the requirement for the three-time Pro Bowl champion to be evaluated by behavioral experts and follow a treatment plan, USA Today reported.

It appears that Watson has already started that phase, just days after the settlement of the disciplinary process was announced.

According to Peter King in his Football Morning In America, the 2020 NFL Passing Yards leader has already commenced counseling.

This may play an integral part in determining if Watson will be allowed to play his first game for the Browns. He continues to stand by his innocence, something that may make it tougher for the counseling and evaluation to gain some ground.

It will be up to the specialist to try and make Watson realize his mistakes and understand why he isn’t innocent. Aside from that, that person would have to help the 26-year-old understand why his habit/fetish of arranging massages on social media to engineer sexual encounters was not normal behavior.

Hence, the counseling and evaluation part won’t be that easy. Most may have not realized its importance and how it could end up keeping Watson off the field longer. It will be a long process for Watson and trying to make him realize his shortcomings is easier said than done.

Hence, the Browns will just have to be patient and wait. For now, it will be Jacoby Brissett starting in Watson’s place. It is familiar territory for the 29-year-old play-caller, having gone through a similar situation with the New England Patriots back in 2016.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Quarterback Deshaun Watson Getty Images | Jason Miller

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