Sources: QB Watson shows 'progress' in program

by Ricardo Gutierrez - As part of the conditions that enabled Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson to be able to play Sunday, he has made what NFL and NFLPA's experts have described as "signs of progress" during his mandatory treatment program, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Browns' Watson has shown 'signs of progress' in treatment program 11:00 PM ET Adam SchefterESPN Senior Writer Close ESPN NFL Insider Joined ESPN in 2009 Former president of the Pro Football Writers of America and the author of four books As part of the conditions that enabled Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson to be reinstated and be able to play Sunday against the Houston Texans , he has made what NFL and NFLPA's experts have described as "signs of progress" during his mandatory treatment program, per league sources. Though his 11-game suspension is now over, Watson is expected to remain in his treatment program, with no end date in sight at this time, sources told ESPN. "He's been progressing well and he wants to continue with it, and they feel it's helping him," said one source connected to Watson's treatment program. "It's just sort of ongoing as needed and it'll be ongoing until it's not needed anymore. And I think it's given him a lot of help and support. But this could take a while." The program is considered confidential, and Watson did not shed light on his treatment last week. He declined to address his treatment during his press conference last week leading up to his return to play, but as one source pointed out, his "clinician said he shouldn't comment on his treatment program and he's not allowed to get into legal situation." Editor's Picks 2 Related Watson was suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy by committing sexual assault, as defined by the NFL, on massage therapists. He was also fined $5 million and has had to be a part of the mandatory treatment program that sources believe has aided him. Watson has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual assault and other inappropriate sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Over the summer, Watson agreed to settle 23 of the 24 lawsuits against him. A 25th lawsuit was dropped by the plaintiff when the judge ruled that her petition had to be amended with her name. Two other women filed criminal complaints against Watson but did not sue him. Watson has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said people haven't been interested in hearing his side of the story. He declined to go into any questions outside of football this past week, and now his Browns debut will come exactly 700 days since he last played in a regular-season game with the Texans on Jan. 3, 2021. Some believe the NFL intentionally suspended Watson 11 games so that his return could come in Houston, which could provide a TV ratings. But this game will be broadcast to only 7 percent of the country, with play-by-play man Spiro Dedes and analyst Jay Feely calling the game. The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending the Texans three first-round draft picks. Cleveland also signed Watson to a five-year deal worth $230 million guaranteed, the richest contract in NFL history. Watson returned to participate in practice with the Browns on Nov. 16 and has been allowed to sit in on team meetings and work out at the team's training facility since Oct. 10. He will become the sixth quarterback in the past 15 seasons to make his debut against the team he last played for, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and the third to do it this season, joining Baker Mayfield and Russell Wilson .