Deshaun Watson receives boos and cheers in Houston during Browns debut


Deshaun Watson returned to a familiar NFL field on Sunday for his first regular season game in 700 days.

The Cleveland Browns quarterback made his team debut on the road against his former team, the Houston Texans. It was the first time he was allowed to play this season following an 11-game suspension he served for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Twenty-four lawsuits were filed against Watson alleging sexual assault and sexual misconduct during massage appointments while he was still with the Texans. Twenty-three of those lawsuits have been settled.

Outside NRG Stadium, a group of people set up a massage table with a mannequin wearing a Texans jersey, according to The Associated Press. Before Sunday’s game, spectators provided boos and cheers for Watson, who signed autographs, took selfies with fans and embraced Texans owner Cal McNair.

The mixed reactions turned into greater boos once Watson took the field for the first time, and the Browns’ offense had a tough time getting anything to work all afternoon.

Cleveland punted on its first possession before committing consecutive turnovers. Anthony Schwartz fumbled after receiving a pass from Watson on the second drive and Watson threw an endzone interception on the ensuing drive.

Watson and the Browns’ offense put together their first scoring drive in the fourth quarter and got three points on a Cade York field goal with 9:36 left in regulation. York hit another fourth-quarter field goal to pad Cleveland’s lead in what turned into a 27-14 victory.

For a final line, Watson went 12-for-22 with zero touchdowns, one interception and 21 yards on the ground

Cleveland’s defense and special teams led the charge in the win by scoring three touchdowns. Donovan Peoples-Jones scored a 76-yard punt return touchdown, Denzel Ward got a 4-yard touchdown on a fumble recovery and Tony Fields II put the game away with a 16-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter.

Sunday was the first game in what is slated to be a long Cleveland tenure for Watson. The Browns gave Watson a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract after acquiring him from the Texans in March.

The Browns (5-7) will be on the road again next Sunday when they face the Cincinnati Bengals. Watson will have a chance to make his home debut in Cleveland when the team hosts the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 18.

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