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Browns QB Deshaun Watson to return, will start against Cardinals

Deshaun Watson
Posted at 1:07 PM, Nov 03, 2023

BEREA, Ohio — Friday marked Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's third straight practice after returning from his medical rehab process, increasing his reps each day. With the Cardinals coming to town Sunday, Watson has been cleared to play and will start in this week's match-up

Watson was ruled out of last week's game against the Seattle Seahawks after taking a hit that pulled him from the Colts game the week before after just a few series. Watson reverted back to his medical rehab process inside, doing physical therapy, weight training, and other medically guided workouts.

However, this week, Watson was able to return to practice with his teammates. While limited, Watson threw a number of passes of various distances on Wednesday and increased his workload on Thursday.

During the portion of practice open to media, which is limited to individual drills and light teamwork, Watson did appear to be more comfortable in his passes after each day. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski said Friday Watson was able to have a full practice session, not limited as he was earlier in the week.

With his progress and the lessons learned from the Colts game, where Watson felt he rushed himself, the Browns felt confident to clear Watson to return to game action on Sunday.

"Every day has been a ramp up, making progress every day. Limited the first couple days, but really good practice Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I think that was really important and I thought he did a nice job," Stefanski said. "I think everybody's comfortable and certainly Deshaun's comfortable. I mean it's again, had a really good week of practice."

While Watson has looked better, wide receiver Elijah Moore was open about things not being perfect—but can see the work Watson has put in to return.

"It feels good to have him back out there," Moore said. "I felt like he looked good. Of course, his first day—well, he's been back a couple of days now—but now named the starter, he had a couple throws that were a little iffy in the beginning, but he's been working. You can't be mad at that."

The team, on both sides of the ball, are happy to have Watson back—hopefully for a full game this time.

"We feel good. That's our QB1," said safety Grant Delpit. "Having 4 out there, it's going to be good for us. It's going to be good for the offense, morale, hopefully bring a spark. So I'm looking forward to it."

While Watson has been cleared to play Sunday, several other players will miss the game with injury.

Wide receiver David Bell, cornerback Greg Newsome II, and defensive end Alex Wright have all been ruled out of Sunday's game. Bell is dealing with a knee injury, Newsome is dealing with a groin injury and Wright is dealing with a knee injury. All three worked to the side at practice this week, working through

Meanwhile, rookie right tackle Dawand Jones has been listed as questionable, still dealing with a shoulder injury. Jones returned to practice Thursday and continued practicing Friday. The Browns will continue monitoring Jones through the weekend.

Although the Browns named their starting quarterback for Sunday's game, Arizona is still undecided. Head coach and Cleveland native Jonathan Gannon said Friday that the decision on whether Kyler Murray or Clayton Tune will start will be made Friday evening or Saturday morning.

Murray, who is still on the physically unable to perform list, has to be activated to the 53-man roster by 4 p.m. Saturday to be eligible to play. If he's not activated, Tune will get the start.

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