CLEVELAND (AP) – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says suspended Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has so far met the terms of a settlement with the league after more than two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Watson is serving an 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. On August 18, the league, which had appealed the six-game ban handed down by an independent arbitrator, settled with the NFL Players Association over Watson’s punishment.
Watson agreed to pay a $5 million fine and undergo mandatory counseling and treatment before he could apply for reinstatement. The three-time Pro Bowler returned to Cleveland’s facility last week but cannot practice with the Browns (2-4) until Nov. 14.
At the owners’ meetings in New York on Tuesday, Goodell said he was pleased Watson was sticking to the agreement.
Last week, another woman in Texas filed a civil suit against Watson, accusing him of forcing her to have sex with him after a massage therapy session. Watson previously settled 23 of the 24 lawsuits, while another was dropped.
Goodell was asked if the new lawsuit affects Watson’s status.
“As far as any additional (allegations), obviously we’ll follow up on them,” Goodell said. “If there is new information, we will take it into account, but we will see as time goes on.”
Watson returned to Cleveland’s staff last week for the first time since his suspension began on Aug. 30. He is allowed to attend team meetings, practice in the gym and interact with teammates and coaches.
As long as he fulfills the deal, Watson will be able to practice on Nov. 14, rejoin the roster two weeks later and play Dec. 4 in Houston against the Texans, who traded him to Cleveland in March for three first-round draft picks.
During his suspension, Watson worked out with a private quarterback coach in suburban Cleveland.
Two grand juries declined to indict the 27-year-old Watson on criminal charges. He claimed that he had never harassed or assaulted any woman.
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