One of the responsibilities of the starting quarterback of NFL franchises is to meet with the media. The league requires players who are under heavy demand for media requests, generally the quarterbacks and star players, be made available for group interviews at least once a week and following games.
The Cleveland Browns made QB Deshaun Watson available on Thursday for the first time since his 11-game suspension. Until this week, the Browns had Jacoby Brissett available in the first media session, generally on Wednesdays.
After almost two full years without playing a game, Watson returns Sunday against his former team, on the road, versus the Houston Texans. Expectations going into the game are all over the place given Watson’s talent and time off from playing.
Talking to the media on Thursday, Cleveland’s starting quarterback made it clear in his opening statement that he was only going to talk about things related to football:
Deshaun Watson’s opening statement. Thanks Jacoby Brissett. Thanks browns and trainers and fans. Also says he is only answering Football questions for legal reasons. pic.twitter.com/rHemk0eD8I— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) December 1, 2022
That was not the only time Watson brought up Jacoby Brissett, the man he is replacing. He noted how he watched how Brissett talked to his teammates and led in the locker room:
“When I first got back my thing was hearing Jacoby talk to those receivers. We watch tape. I’m able to stand up in the meeting … let’s be able to have that communication and talk.” https://t.co/iATvTZY17r— Zac Jackson (@AkronJackson) December 1, 2022
Besides learning from Brissett, Watson also noted that he spent some of his time away from the team learning by watching other quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Tua Tagovailoa.
Watson also talked about some of the things that he did to stay mentally engaged while away and his thoughts about knocking off rust:
Watson on rust from layoff.#Browns pic.twitter.com/nrsUPPTxs2— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) December 1, 2022
As part of the discussion, Watson did note his excitement for playing in front of Houston fans but that his focus is not on their reaction:
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is staying focused on the game against the Texans, not how he'll be received in his return to Houston after serving 11-game NFL suspension and trade: 'My main focus is on the game plan and trying to execute so we can win.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) December 1, 2022
We are likely to hear from Watson after the game which will likely include Houston media asking questions for the first time since he was traded.