BEREA, Ohio — After losing quarterback Deshaun Watson to an 11-game suspension, the Cleveland Browns continue to insist that they are “comfortable” and “confident” in Jacoby Brissett as their starter while Watson is out.
Brissett responded that he’s “excited” to have the opportunity to start again. And one, he doesn’t “take lightly.”
“I’ve got to go out there,” Brissett said Friday, “and prove that every day.”
On Thursday, the NFL and the NFL Players Association reached a settlement, agreeing that Watson will sit 11 games without pay after being accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. His suspension will begin Aug. 30, just before the regular season begins.
The Browns, however, started giving Brissett the reps with the first-team offense over Watson earlier this week in preparation for the suspension.
“We’re excited about Jacoby and have a ton of trust in Jacoby,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I know [the players] have trust in Jacoby.”
Stefanski said before training camp that Brissett would become the starter should Watson be suspended. Stefanski noted Thursday that he also has been impressed with Brissett’s leadership in the face of uncertainty at the position.
“I think back to when we were acquiring Jacoby,” Stefanski said, “and just the phone calls that I made to people who he has played for and people who he has played with, it was very, very consistent that you are getting a pro’s pro, somebody who is going to lead from out in front, works very hard at his craft and just is an outstanding teammate.”
Before Friday’s joint-practice with the Philadelphia Eagles, Brissett was asked about the team publicly supporting him, even as rumors continue to swirl that Cleveland might explore the possibility of trading for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
“Just go out there and continue to be the man that I am, the player that I am, the teammate that I am,” Brissett said. “I think all of that stuff will kind of take care of itself.”
On Thursday, Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry praised his backup quarterback, but wouldn’t say definitively whether Brissett would be the Browns starter for the 11 games Watson misses.
“We feel very good about Jacoby,” Berry said. “No different than any other position on the roster, we will continue to evaluate our team over the course of the camp, but really pleased with Jacoby.”
Source : ESPN