The Punxsutawney Spirit

AP source: Browns QB Watson to meet with NFL reps in Texas

- By Tom Withers AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) — NFL officials will meet this week with Cleveland Browns quarterbac­k Deshaun Watson as the league continues to investigat­e whether he violated its personal conduct policy, a person familiar with the plans told The Associated Press on Monday.

Watson, who is facing 22 civil lawsuits from massage therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct, is scheduled to speak with the league's representa­tives in Texas, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivit­y of the situation.

Watson is facing potential discipline by the league, which is independen­tly investigat­ing his actions while he was with the Houston Texans. Commission­er Roger Goodell said as recently as April 28 at the NFL draft that there was no timeframe on any possible ruling on Watson.

Reporter Josina Anderson was first to report the planned meeting on Twitter.

“We have no update and will decline comment on that tweet,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to the AP.

“There’s no timetable as the review is active and ongoing.”

Watson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, told the AP he will leave it to the NFL to discuss its schedule of interviews, but he assumes that “Watson will be interviewe­d at great length soon.”

The meeting with league officials is a significan­t developmen­t for Watson, who signed a fully guaranteed $230 million contract in March with the Browns after initially turning down a trade to Cleveland.

The Browns, who sent three first-round draft picks and six total selections to the Texans for Watson, are eager to find out if they'll be without him for any portion of this season after making such a major investment in the three-time Pro Bowler.

In March, two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints from 10 women.

He has denied all wrongdoing and said during a news conference with the Browns in April that he “never assaulted or disrespect­ed or harassed any woman in my life.”

Watson has given deposition­s in several of the civil cases.

To this point, he has not missed any of Cleveland's offseason programs.

It's not clear with whom Watson will be meeting this week.

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