“I’m still in disbelief,” Watson told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m still trying to process all the information that I’ve been getting since last night. It’s tough. I felt like we were turning a corner to really make a run and I believe that we still will with the guys in this locker room. I just wanted to be physically a part of it, on the field with those guys.”
Watson added that his surgery is scheduled for next week. The team said in a statement that it expected Watson to be ready for the start of the 2024 season.
“(I’m) very confident in the doctors that’s going to be doing the surgery,” Watson said. “Very confident in my rehab and my mindset and my determination to get back strong.”
The injury is a severe blow to the 6-3 Browns, who currently sit in the No. 6 spot in the AFC. Sunday’s win over Baltimore marked the best game Watson has played in Cleveland, particularly in the second half against a very good Ravens defense. In the final two quarters, he completed 14 of 14 passes for 9.6 yards per attempt with a touchdown, no turnovers and a 130.4 passer rating. That he performed so well while injured is even more impressive.
The performance suggested he might be turning a corner in Kevin Stefanski’s scheme after a previous shoulder injury and ineffective QB play kept the Browns offense from finding a groove.
Alas, Watson’s season is over after Week 10.
“We are very disappointed and devastated for Deshaun, especially given all that he has battled and gone through medically this season, especially in light of how well he’s played since his most recent injury,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry told reporters on Wednesday.
The highly paid quarterback now will have started just six games for Cleveland for the second consecutive season after a blockbuster trade with Houston. Last season, Watson was suspended for the first 11 games and looked rusty upon his return. This year, it was injuries that kept him on the sideline. The QB missed two games with a shoulder injury. He returned in Week 7 but lasted just five pass attempts before a crushing blow put him back on the sideline. He returned again in Week 9 and played through injury in Week 10.
Berry was asked what gives him confidence that Watson will be able to return to a level of play commensurate with this five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract following another injury and extended absence.
“We feel good about Deshaun,” Berry said. “We see how talented he is. We could see it since he returned from his last injury. The level that he is able to play. He’s smart. He’s physically tough, he’s mentally tough. He really is — as Kevin’s mentioned — he’s the leader of this team. We’re excited to get him back for 2024.”
Berry also told reporters that Watson’s new injury is not related to his previous shoulder ailments.
First appeared on www.nfl.com