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Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns were booed when they took to the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday night in their preseason opener.
For veteran offensive lineman Joel Bitonio, he doesn’t read too much into it. Bitonio said Saturday he expects the same wherever the team travels this season.
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“It seems that more than ever, [it’s] Cleveland against the world, so we’ll be ready for that,” he said via the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
Watson made his first appearance in any type of NFL game since Jan. 3, 2021. He requested a trade from the Houston Texans after the 2020 season, then was hit with two dozen civil lawsuits accusing him of of sexual assault. A disciplinary officer assigned to investigate Watson’s case recommended a six-game suspension for the quarterback, but the NFL decided to appeal the case.
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Watson was shaky in the Browns’ 24-13 win over the Jaguars. He was 1 for 5 with seven passing yards.
Bitonio, who was All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 2021, said he doesn’t think being booed rattles Watson.
“No, I think you expect that. …. Coming into any game I’ve been to has been loud, it’s been boos the first time you come out of the series anyway. I don’t think not that it shook him,” he said. .
“I’m sure in every stadium we go to we’ll be booed. I don’t know if it’s going to get any worse. I think people are tired of booing, you know? But I’m sure every time that ‘he comes out there, there’s going to be kind of a hoot to start the game, and we’ll go from there.”
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Watson faces a one-season suspension if the NFL wins its appeal of the initial six-game ban.