1 of 5 | Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Deshaun Watson (4) is suspended for the first six games of the regular season, but will start a preseason game Friday in Jacksonville, Fla. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is suspended for at least the first six games of the season, is scheduled to start a preseason game Friday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team announced.
The Browns said Wednesday that Watson would start the game, which will kick off at 7 p.m. EDT in Jacksonville, Fla. The game will not air on national TV, but can be streamed on NFL+.
Former federal Judge Sue L. Robinson, whom the NFL and players' association appointed to settle Watson's disciplinary dispute, announced Aug. 1 that Watson would be suspended for six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Watson has faced accusations of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct from more than two dozen women through civil lawsuits. He has denied criminal wrongdoing and two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him earlier this year.
One of the 25 lawsuits was dropped in April 2021. Watson later settled 23 of the remaining 24 lawsuits.
The NFL appealed Robinson's decision Aug. 3, seeking a suspension of at least a full season. The players' association did not appeal Robinson's decision.
"We've seen the evidence," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters Tuesday. "[Robinson] was very clear about the evidence, should we enforce the evidence -- that there were multiple violations here, and they were egregious, and it was predatory behavior."
The Browns said that most of their other starters also will play against the Jaguars.
Watson, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, did not appear in a game in 2021 amid his legal battles. He completed a career-best 70.2% of his throws for a league-high 4,823 yards, 33 scores and seven interceptions in 16 starts in 2020.
Jacoby Brissett, Joshua Dobbs and Josh Rosen are the other quarterbacks on the Browns' roster. Brissett is expected to start in Week 1.
The Browns will start the regular season against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 11 in Charlotte, N.C.