HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson signed autographs, posed for selfies, ignored the boos and picked up a sloppy win.

Once more, he refused to precise regret for habits that earned him an 11-game suspension.

Returning to his outdated dwelling to play his first sport in 700 days, Watson confirmed numerous rust in his debut for Cleveland, however the Browns did not want him to do a lot in a 27-14 win. on the Houston Texans on Sunday.

After signing jerseys for Texans and Browns followers and taking images with just a few others earlier than the sport, Watson was showered with boos as soon as he began. He heard teasing earlier than each snap within the first half and for a lot of the afternoon.

“They’re presupposed to boo. I am a Cleveland Brown now,” Watson mentioned.

Watson has been accused by greater than two dozen ladies of sexual harassment and assault throughout therapeutic massage classes. It has settled 23 civil lawsuits introduced by the ladies, whereas two others, together with one filed in October, are pending.

When requested if he felt regret for his actions upon returning to Houston, Watson mentioned his authorized group instructed him to not reply questions on his suspension.

“After all it was a tough scenario,” he mentioned. “The suspension was tough however, on the similar time, my predominant purpose was simply to attempt to be 1-0 as a soccer participant at the moment.”

Pressed additional, Watson mentioned: “I used to be simply delighted to be again on the pitch at the moment. I did every part I used to be requested, what I used to be requested to do. I did all of that.

Watson had a number of supporters within the stands earlier than the match, whereas a gaggle of girls who accused him of sexual misconduct additionally deliberate to attend. Lawyer Tony Buzbee, who represents the ladies, didn’t reply to a textual content message asking to verify their attendance. He mentioned earlier within the week that about 10 ladies needed to attend “to make some type of assertion, ‘Hey, we’re nonetheless right here. We rely.

A fan walked into the NRG stadium carrying a derogatory Browns-colored shirt that features textual content that reads ‘I want a therapeutic massage’. He was joined by a fan carrying Watson’s No. 4 Browns jersey.

Followers within the parking zone arrange a faux therapeutic massage desk with a mannequin carrying a purple Texans jersey and a towel.

The few followers seated of their seats when Watson and the Browns ran onto the pitch about an hour earlier than kickoff booed.

“It’s what it’s,” Watson mentioned of the boos. “I can not management what the followers do. My job is to go on the market and carry out.

He did not do this too effectively.

Watson accomplished 12 of twenty-two passes for 131 yards and one interception. The three-time Professional Bowl quarterback posted the worst passer ranking of his NFL profession at 53.4. The Browns (5-7) had two defensive touchdowns and one particular groups rating to beat the Texans (1-10-1).

After an interception gave the Browns their first possession of their 43, Watson threw two incomplete passes. He walked away from a sack on third down and the followers cheered as his throw to David Bell hit the bottom.

Watson’s first accomplished move on his third try resulted in a turnover when Anthony Schwartz fumbled after a 12-yard achieve. Watson then led the Browns to Houston’s 11 earlier than throwing a decide into the top zone.

“We do not count on him to be Superman after he hasn’t performed in two years,” All-Professional defensive finish Myles Garrett mentioned.

Watson missed the 2021 season after requesting a commerce from Houston. After two grand juries in Texas refused to indict him on allegations of sexual harassment and assault, the Browns traded a number of draft picks to get Watson, then signed him to a $235 million contract fully assured.

Throughout warm-ups, Watson signed jerseys for the followers behind the top zone. An 18-year-old man from East Texas bought Watson’s autograph on his Browns jersey. A Houston couple carrying Texans jerseys additionally bought Watson’s signature on their jerseys.

“We do not actually know what occurred and everybody deserves a second likelihood,” mentioned Sherry Holden, explaining her assist.

A number of Browns followers mentioned they weren’t comfy rooting for Watson.

“I am cheering for the jersey and the group, but it surely’s laborious to just accept him as a quarterback,” mentioned Brandon Collins, who flew in from Ohio for the sport.

The NFL needed to droop Watson for at the very least a season, however settled for 11 video games after an impartial arbitrator initially granted him a six-game ban. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pointed to former U.S. District Decide Sue Robinson, calling Watson’s habits “flagrant” and “predatory” in asking for the total suspension.

Watson was additionally fined $5 million and needed to bear skilled remedy and counseling. Watson maintained his innocence but in addition apologized to the ladies he impacted and

The Browns went 4-7 with veteran Jacoby Brissett changing Watson.

Coach Kevin Stefanski has pledged to start out Watson subsequent week and insisted he removed his first sport.

“He appeared very full of life in coaching and he is excited for the subsequent one so he understood this one was going to be totally different,” Stefanski mentioned.


Observe Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi


AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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