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Deshaun Watson says he’ll be ready for Week 1 and ‘better’

UNIVERSITY HTS. — Deshaun Watson is not only confident he’ll be ready when the regular season starts, he expects his game to be at another level.

That’s music to the ears of the Browns as Watson rehabs following shoulder surgery in November that ended his 2023 season.

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“I’ll be better than I was before in Week 1,” the quarterback said Thursday. “So I’m very confident in the roles of the doctors. Dr. (Neal) ElAttrache and his team, I’m following their lead and just all the research that I’ve done and then just my work and preparation. I put my whole life into this and I want to make sure I come back even better than before.”

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Watson was in town for the opening of Lefty’s Famous Cheesesteaks, Hoagies & Grill, as he’s a partner in the location. He began throwing in mid-March, gave a positive progress report and will be back for the offseason program, which begins April 15.

“It’s been very, very good,” Watson said of the throwing. “The process is day-to-day and we’ve just got to take it one step at a time. We can’t do anything too crazy. We can’t jump the gun and try to do too much.

“The biggest thing right now through this process is load management and just continue to find ways to just get better and just stay on that course. So I’m trusting all the doctors, the P.T., Dr. ElAttrache and his team out in L.A. with the Cleveland Browns. And we just follow their role and we’ll be ready by Week 1.”

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Watson, 28, has appeared in only six games in each of the two seasons since the Browns traded for him. He was suspended for the first 11 games in 2022 after more than two dozen accusations of sexual misconduct and was limited to six starts last year due to a pair of shoulder injuries.

The glenoid bone — the socket portion of the shoulder joint — broke Nov. 12 against the Ravens, but he finished the game. He went 14-for-14 in the second half, leading the Browns to a comeback victory. The performance showed the potential and ability of the three-time Pro Bowler, and the goal for 2024 is to stay on the field.

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“That’s the plan is just being able to pull out a full season,” Watson said. “The first year we had some stuff that we had to do with the NFL and then last year injury popped up that I couldn’t really control too much, but we get one full season and it’s going to be special things. And I really believe that, the organization believe that and that locker room believe it, too.

“So we are putting together a great contender. And we’re just going to go to work and just take one week at a time and see what happens.”

The Browns sought to improve the support system around Watson during the offseason, hiring offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, trading for receiver Jerry Jeudy and signing backup quarterback Jameis Winston. Watson’s a fan of all the moves and met Dorsey in person when coach Kevin Stefanski and Dorsey flew to Los Angeles in early March.

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“The visit with me and Dorsey was awesome and Kevin also, and we just continue to build that,” Watson said. “So since I’ve been out here, I met with Dorsey a couple times and we can tell that bond is going to continue to grow.”

He confirmed general manager Andrew Berry had been trying to land Jeudy for years. Jeudy will join receivers Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore, who are also from South Florida.

“It was amazing,” Watson said of the trade that sent fifth- and sixth-round draft picks to Denver for Jeudy, the No. 15 pick in 2020. “I knew kind of since I pretty much got traded that was an opportunity that AB wanted to try to get done and it took a little minute, but he got it done and I think it’s going to be a great addition with Amari and Elijah. I mean, those three guys already been together this offseason. Very similar types of guys from the same area. So it’s going to be fun to be able to toss the ball around to those guys.”

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Talking about Winston, the former No. 1 overall pick, brought a huge smile from Watson. They recently spent time together.

“It was amazing. Jameis is a great guy, a great person, a better person than whatever he do outside of just being himself. The football is just secondary,” Watson said. “But being around him, his fellowship, his leadership, his command of just being very positive and then just being able to have him being the former No. 1 pick, being around so many great quarterbacks and I just need that energy and want that energy around me. So once we figured out AB signed him, I got his number and I wanted to just ask him questions. He came out to L.A. and visited me and we had a great time.”

The restaurant opening was an event for the community and Browns fans and included the University Heights mayor reading a proclamation. Stefanski attended, was a guest on Watson’s podcast with personal quarterbacks coach Quincy Avery and left with food.

“It was amazing to have Kevin here,” Watson said. “He actually told me (he was coming) before I even asked him. He said he was going to come and so I asked him if he wanted to be on the podcast. He said, sure, why not? It was a great opportunity for him to be able to come hang out with me and Quincy.”

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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