Cleveland Browns Jacoby Brissett ‘ready to go’ as starter after Deshaun Watson suspension

BEREA, Ohio — Jacoby Brissett said his past experience as a backup quarterback has prepared him for the situation in Cleveland, where he lines up to take over suspended Cleveland Browns starter Deshaun Watson.

“It’s been my situation throughout my career,” Brissett said Tuesday. “Nothing I’m unfamiliar with. I was always ready to go when my number was called, and it is now.”

On Monday, disciplinary judge Sue L. Robinson suspended Watson from six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, following allegations of sexual misconduct. The NFL Players Association and the league have until 9:00 a.m. ET on Thursday to file a written appeal against Robinson’s ruling.

In a statement Sunday night, the union made it clear that it “holds up” its decision and urged the NFL to do the same. The league said in a statement Monday it was in the process of determining next steps.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said on Tuesday Watson would speak with reporters once the appeals process is complete.

Last week, Stefanski reiterated that Brissett, who signed the Browns for a year during the off-season, would become Cleveland’s starter if Watson were suspended.

Brissett filled in the starting quarterback under unusual circumstances at the start of the season before.

A rookie for the New England Patriots in 2016, he had to intervene after Tom Brady was suspended from Deflategate and Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury. Just before the start of the 2019 season, Brissett became the starter for the Indianapolis Colts following the surprise retirement of Andrew Luck. Last year, Brissett replaced injured starter Tua Tagovailoa in Week 2 for the Miami Dolphins.

Despite being a backup for much of his career, Brissett has 37 starts with a 14-23 record.

“Since I’ve been in this league, it’s the next guy,” Brissett said. “So of course that experience not only helps with playing, but also with the mindset of understanding — you have to be ready when your number is called.”

So far, Watson has received the overwhelming majority of first-team photos at training camp, but Stefanski has indicated that Robinson’s ruling eventually clears the way for Brissett to get more first-team work.

“[That’s] extremely important, of course, because those are the guys who will be with us,” Brissett said. “We have a plan in place and we believe in the plan. And we’re handling the plan in the right way, and that will come when it comes.”

Brissett said he had not spoken to Watson about the suspension and had no intention of reading Robinson’s 16-page report.

“I think that’s Deshaun’s business,” Brissett said, “and I want to stay out of that.”

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