CLEVELAND — Deshaun Watson won’t have a playbook for everything that lies ahead.

The practices, meetings, film work, making handoffs, throwing passes for the Browns, all of that will be easy, second nature. The rest: protesters, heightened scrutiny and pointed questions, will be unscripted.

There’s no blueprint for the once-revered quarterback now reviled in some circles.

Cleveland’s controversial, $230 million QB was officially reinstated Monday by the NFL after serving his 11-game suspension for sexual misconduct allegations made by more than two dozen women.

Watson’s return wasn’t accompanied by any fanfare, simply a posting on the league’s personnel notice.

He’s now a starter again and poised to make his regular-season debut for the Browns on Sunday, coincidentally, in Houston, where he began his pro career and quickly rose to stardom before off-field decisions knocked him off course.


The 27-year-old quarterback isn’t starting over, but anew.

He’s coming back to the Browns (4-7), who are clinging to the hope that he can lead them to the playoffs despite his long layoff.

Browns Coach Kevin Stefanski believes Watson, who returned to practice two weeks ago, is ready for what will be his first game in 700 days – and whatever’s next.

“I have confidence in Deshaun based on his preparation and, really, the focus is on just him doing his job,” Stefanski said a day after the Browns rallied for a 23-17 overtime win against Tampa Bay. “We’re still gonna be all about the team effort, still offense, defense and special teams. So this is never, ever gonna be about one person.

“But as it relates to Deshaun, I believe in his preparation, I believe that he worked really hard on a bunch of things to be ready to go.”

PATRIOTS: The Patriots are still dealing with injuries that could derail their offense Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills.


On Monday, the team was without running back Damien Harris (thigh) and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (foot).

Wynn missed last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings due to his lower body injury. The starting right tackle suffered the foot injury during the Patriots Week 11 win over the New York Jets. The Patriots had backup Yodny Cajuste start in his place. Cajuste was limited in practice on Monday with a calf injury.

It was reported that Wynn would miss time and at this point, it’s not a great sign that he wasn’t able to practice on Monday with one more practicing remaining in the week.

Meanwhile, center David Andrews is still limited with a thigh injury. Backup James Ferentz started in his place last week.

Harris suffered his injury against the Vikings. He left Minnesota on crutches and at this point, it would be a surprise if he was available Thursday night. Harris has missed three games this season. He’s rushed for 383 yards to go with three touchdowns. Although his numbers are down from a year ago, Harris still leads the Patriots in yards per carry (4.6).

CHIEFS: The Kansas City Chiefs are signing two-time Pro Bowl running back Melvin Gordon to their practice squad, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press, adding some much-needed depth with a player that was recently released from the AFC West rival Denver Broncos.


Gordon was cut by the Broncos last week amid fumble problems that plagued the 2015 first-round pick during his time in Denver. While he ran for 318 yards and caught 25 passes for 223 yards in 10 starts, averaging 3.5 yards per carry, Gordon also fumbled five times in 10 games, including a costly one in a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

The fumble issues are not new. Gordon has lost the ball 26 times in 108 games, or about once in every four games.

EAGLES: QB Jalen Hurts cemented his status as a top MVP candidate with a game that goes down as one of the greatest for a QB in Eagles’ history. Yes, even for a franchise that boasts Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham, Hurts topped them all in the rushing department.

Hurts ran for 157 yards in the 40-33 victory to set an Eagles record for a quarterback. He also threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns and became the first player since at least 1950 with 150-plus yards rushing and 150-plus yards passing with multiple passing touchdowns.

Consider as well that Hurts had 254 combined yards, including 126 on the ground, and threw a TD pass in the first half.

How so dominant?


Let Jalen sum it up:
“I ran,” he said, “and they couldn’t get me.”

Hurts topped Michael Vick’s 130 yards rushing set in December 2010 against the New York Giants as best for an Eagles QB.

GIANTS: The team still plans to host Odell Beckham Jr. on Thursday and Friday for a free -gent visit, even though Beckham was escorted off a Sunday flight from Miami to Los Angeles, the Daily News learned.

Maybe the incident adds a question to the Giants’ interview process, but nothing that happened Sunday changed the reasons for their mutual interest and this week’s visit.

Beckham is interested in returning to the Giants. Big Blue could use receiver help to lift them in their playoff push, if not to galvanize them after three losses in their last four.

And above all, the team needs to physically examine Beckham’s twice-torn left ACL and work him out to ensure he’d be able to help them if he did sign.


All of Beckham’s suitors need that assurance, and OBJ is looking to find the best contract and situation for him.

He has plans to visit the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills after. The Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs have also shown interest. And it wouldn’t be surprising if the San Francisco 49ers re-entered the fray.

BUCS: An injury suffered by All-Pro offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs during an overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns is not as serious as the team initially feared.

“He’s got a high ankle sprain,” Coach Todd Bowles said, adding that while Wirfs is almost certain to sit out next Monday’s home game against New Orleans, the third-year pro could be in play to return at some point down the stretch.

RAVENS: Coach John Harbaugh said he spoke with Lamar Jackson about the star quarterback’s profane postgame tweet directed at a fan a day earlier, saying the language Jackson used was out of character.

Jackson, meanwhile, insisted on Twitter that he did not intend to disrespect anyone’s sexual orientation and has never done so.


After the Ravens lost 28-27 to Jacksonville on Sunday, a fan suggested Baltimore let Jackson leave via free agency. Jackson responded – in a tweet that was later deleted – by saying the person “never smelt a football field” and using vulgar language that members of the gay community said was offensive.

Jackson shot back at the idea that his tweet was antigay by tweeting Monday: “Not once have I ever mentioned or disrespect anyone’s Sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, Religion or Race.”

Harbaugh said he heard about Jackson’s tweet Sunday night and talked to him Monday morning.

PACKERS: Aaron Rodgers wants to keep playing through his growing list of injuries as long as the struggling Green Bay Packers still have a mathematical chance of reaching the playoffs.

The Packers’ postseason hopes remain alive, if only in the technical sense, after a 40-33 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday dropped their record to 4-8. Rodgers, already playing with a broken right thumb, left with injured ribs in the second half.

“I know he’s feeling better today,” Packers Coach Matt LaFleur said. “I think we’ll know more in the next couple of days.”

LaFleur said the Packers planned to continue relying on Rodgers if the four-time MVP is healthy enough to play.

RAMS: Seven-time All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald sprained his ankle Sunday in Los Angeles’ fifth consecutive loss, Coach Sean McVay said. The Rams believe the injury is a high ankle sprain, which often requires multiple weeks of recovery.

Donald may be forced to miss a game due to injury for the first time in his nine-year NFL career, potentially adding him to the crushing list of injured Rams including Matthew Stafford, receivers Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson, defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson and most of the offensive line.

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