Head Coach Kevin Stefanski Spoke Following Training Camp

Photo: (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Opening statement:

“First off, thank you for your patience – I know we are getting started a little bit later than normal. As you know, all along, I have said and tried to be consistent that I am going to respect this process. As you saw today, the process will continue with today’s ruling. This is a jointly agreed upon process from the NFLPA and the NFL. This was collectively bargained. I am going to respect Judge (Sue L.) Robinson and her opinion right now until more information becomes available to me. I understand that there are many, many questions, and I will try to answer as many as I can, but I also want you to know it remains a process that we are certainly respectful of.”


On the Browns consistently using the word ‘comfortable’ with QB Deshaun Watson as a person, Judge Robinson’s report stating Watson violated the NFL personal conduct policy and if that gives him any pause:

“I have not been able to read the entire ruling. I think all along we have been very consistent, like you mentioned, and that was from a lot of work on Deshaun the person throughout this entire process. I am going to remain [with] what we have said all along about Deshaun the person. I would mention – Deshaun has said it – that he is working to be the best version of himself. He is committed to that. He said that publicly, he said that privately and I believe that.”


On Dee and Jimmy Haslams’ statement sharing that Watson has expressed remorse and Judge Robinson’s report stating she did not believe Watson expressed remorse:

“I was on the practice field so I have not read the entire report, but I believe Deshaun has told you guys in a press conference and he has told me privately he wants to be the best version of himself. I believe that whole heartedly. He is working on that. I will let Deshaun at some point speak for himself.”


On how Judge Robinson’s ruling will impact how the Browns address practice reps for the rest of training camp, understanding discipline could ultimately change:

“We have our plan, and we will stick to that again until more information becomes available.”


On why he believes that Watson is working to become the best version of himself:

“I will let Deshaun address that – I think that is fair to let him speak for himself – but I think just in my time with him and being around him, I have seen a person who both publicly and privately has said that he wants to be the best version of himself.”


On Judge Robinson’s ruling stating that Watson’s massage sessions moving forward should be directed by the team:

“Respectfully, as it relates to that, I do not have much to comment. I have not been able to read all of that, but we will make sure that everything that is agreed upon is followed.”


On if there is a sense of ‘comfort’ that the Browns ‘kind of know what they are dealing with now that there is a number [of games] in mind while it could change’:

“I think all along, like we have talked about, I have tried to just be where my feet are and operate with the information that we have available to us. This process is not my process. It is agreed upon by the PA and the NFL, and all I can do is respect it.”


On if or how much he has seen the external focus on Watson’s situation impact Browns teammates:

“I think that is our job as players and coaches to focus on what we can control, do the things that are within our power and ultimately to do our job. I think the guys are doing a nice job of that. We understand the questions that you guys have, but it can’t stop us from doing our job right now.”


On if he noticed any change in Watson’s demeanor today or if Watson seemed different at all today compared to other practices:

“He didn’t [seem different] to me. Obviously, I know with this decision that there are a lot of questions that everybody has, and I think in due time, Deshaun certainly will address those questions, but I think where we are in the process, that will happen. To your question, no, I did not notice any difference.”


On the Browns’ confidence level that Watson will be able to make good decisions on and off the field moving forward:

“I am confident that Deshaun will make good decisions on and off the field. Obviously, the on-field decisions, he works very hard at that with the playbook, meetings and being on the practice field. Off the field, Deshaun is no different than the other 90 guys right now and the 53 guys eventually that we expect them to be great citizens in the community.”


On if Watson addressed the team today after Judge Robinson’s report:

“I am not going to get into specifics about those types of things.”


On the response Watson received from the fans at practice yesterday and today, including fans asking for autographs after Judge Robinson’s report was submitted:

“I will be honest, I did not really notice. I believe you if you say so. Our fans have been outstanding supporters throughout this whole camp. I am not surprised at the numbers that are out here. I am not surprised by how enthusiastic they are. As you know, we did not have any fans in 2020 and we had about half the size of the fans in 2021 so it is nice to see a full group out here and nice to see a lot of kids out here, as well.”


On how Judge Robinson’s ruling will affect playing time in preseason games for Watson and other Browns players:

“I think we will see. We have a plan certainly for practice. As we get closer to the preseason games, we will make some decisions as it relates to that. My understanding is that he can play in the preseason games.”


On if the Browns came up with multiple plans based on potential severity of a suspension for Watson to be implemented once a final ruling is made:

“That is right. As you can imagine, we are dealing with some uncertainties and that is OK. That is life for a football team oftentimes. We have a couple different plans, and we are going to stick to it until we have more information.”


On if there has been a concerted effort to establish Watson as the starting QB and leader of the team:

“I think so. I think more than anything, he is our starter, and we need to get him ready to play games. (QB) Jacoby (Brissett) is our backup. We need to get him ready to play games. Obviously, Week 1 with the suspension, we expect Jacoby to be in there. There is a point in our practice plan where we will shift gears, if you will, but for right now, we feel comfortable with the plan that we have.”


On if he was surprised with Judge Robinson ruling in support of a six-game suspension:

“Again, I think I would go back to telling you that this really is not my process. It is a jointly agreed upon process to have a highly respected individual to rule on this, and all I can do is respect the opinion of Judge Robinson. In terms of ‘surprise,’ again, I go back to I am just going to be where my feet are.”


On being asked about the process involving a potential Watson suspension for four months and if it feels longer or more than what the Browns expected:

“Honestly, I do not really think of it that way. I think yes, to your point, we understand that there are questions, and I want to be as transparent as I can with all of that as the process now stretches into August. Obviously, I know that everyone here has shown some patience with that, but for me, I just have to make sure that I am being as transparent as I can with you, with our fans and with our team, and that is all a part of this.”


On if he plans to read Judge Robinson’s report:

“I will.”


On his message to female Browns fans following Judge Robinson’s report:

“I would go back to what we said when we first acquired Deshaun, and that has not changed. I feel incredible empathy for anyone who has been impacted by this decision. It is something that I do not take lightly. I have spoken to women in our organization. I have spoken to women in the community. That is something that I will continue to do. Our fans, whether you are a man or a woman, our fans are really important to us so I want to make sure that they understand that and that they are never going to be dismissed in any way.”


On T Jack Conklin being activated from the active/PUP list today:

“I thought it was awesome to see No. 78 walking out here in his pads. I have told you guys, he has worked so hard. I am really proud of how hard he has worked. There was a time I was in here late June, and I looked out and he is on the field working out with a bunch of the offensive linemen and putting them through drills. That just does not happen very often in late June in given cities. He has worked really hard. It is still a process. He is not all of the way back. We have time to work him back up to speed but really excited to see No. 78 out there.”


On WR Amari Cooper’s status:

“I have not gotten the full report yet. I will update you guys tomorrow, but I do not know.”


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