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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

NFL inisists on indefinite suspension at Watson hearing

Wed Jun 29 7:22pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer

Related photo caption below

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson throws a pass during an NFL football practice at FirstEnergy Stadium, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


The NFL and Deshaun Watson's legal team presented their arguments before a disciplinary officer for a second day Wednesday, with both sides holding firm as the hearing is scheduled to continue in Delaware on Thursday.

The league is insisting on an indefinite suspension and Watson's side is arguing there's no basis for a punishment that significant, two people in attendance told The Associated Press. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the hearing isn't public.

Former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players' Association, is tasked with determining whether Watson violated the NFL's personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

If either the union or league appeals Robinson's decision, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee ''will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,'' per terms of Article 46 in the collective bargaining agreement.

Watson agreed to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct, but the league is seeking at least a one-year suspension, one of the people told The AP. Watson's side expects a suspension but wants the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback to play for the Cleveland Browns at some point this season, another person told the AP.

Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations.

Watson has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name.

This is the first hearing for Robinson, who was the first woman Chief Judge for the District of Delaware. Previously, Goodell had the authority to impose discipline for violations of the personal conduct policy.

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Player Notes
Jalen Hurts Aug 10 7:00pm ET
Jalen Hurts

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said the plan is for quarterback Jalen Hurts and the starters to play one or two offensive series in the preseason opener on Friday night against the New York Jets. The Eagles will be without left tackles Jason Kelce (elbow) and Jordan Mailata (concussion), but Hurts will play anyway. Second-year receiver DeVonta Smith (groin) is unlikely to play after missing his fifth straight training camp practice on Wednesday. There remain concerns about whether Hurts can improve as a passer, but the Eagles are expected to pass more with No. 1 wideout A.J. Brown now in town, and Hurts has top-five fantasy upside at the position after finishing the 2021 season as the QB10.

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Jason Huntley Aug 10 6:50pm ET
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The Philadelphia Eagles signed former North Texas running back Deandre Torrey after his workout on Wednesday, according to a source. Torrey will be added to a running back room in training camp that already includes Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, Jason Huntley and rookie Kennedy Brooks. In his final season in college, Torrey had 1,329 scrimmage yards and 14 total touchdowns, but his size (5-foot-7, 195 pounds) likely led to him being passed up in this year's NFL draft. He'll simply hope to impress the rest of camp in order to win a spot on the team's practice squad entering the regular season.

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Joe Burrow Aug 10 6:50pm ET
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Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor confirmed on Wednesday that quarterback Joe Burrow (appendix) won't play in the team's preseason opener on Friday against the Arizona Cardinals. Burrow remains without a timetable to return to training camp after undergoing an appendectomy on July 26. However, he was seen making some light throws at practice on Monday. It wouldn't be a surprise if the 25-year-old didn't suit up at all in the preseason, but he is fully expected to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. After leading a talented Bengals offense all the way to the Super Bowl in just his second NFL season, Burrow will be a strong QB1 target in fantasy football.

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Matt Ryan Aug 10 6:40pm ET
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Indianapolis Colts offensive tackles Matt Pryor and Bernhard Raimann are battling for the starting left tackle job this summer after the team moved on from veteran Eric Fisher. Neither player is an ideal candidate for the left tackle spot, as Pryor has never been a full-time left tackle and Raimann is a rookie. Pryor is getting the first-team repetitions and has held up fine, while Raimann is off to a slow start in training camp. Pror isn't as agile as Raimann, but at 6-foot-7, 332 pounds, he has power. The offensive line has been a strength of the Colts in recent years, but the left tackle spot could be an issue for this offense and quarterback Matt Ryan.

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Christian Watson Aug 10 6:30pm ET
Christian Watson

Green Bay Packers rookie second-round wide receiver Christian Watson (knee) continues to be sidelined at training camp as he recovers from offseason knee surgery. With Watson sidelined, rookie fourth-rounder Romeo Doubs has really stepped up in practices and has impressed quarterback Aaron Rodgers will consistent "wow" plays. The Packers are hoping to get Watson back on the field next week, but he's missing crucial repetitions to gain chemistry with Rodgers, who is notorious for being hard on rookie pass-catchers. The 23-year-old still has time to get ready before the start of the regular season, but all the time missed so far makes it more likely that he won't be a consistent producer early in the 2022 season.

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Roquan Smith Aug 10 6:30pm ET
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The Chicago Bears removed linebacker Roquan Smith from the Physically Unable to Perform list on Wednesday. Smith has requested a trade and is holding in during training camp due to contractual issues, and he's not expected to begin practicing despite coming off the PUP list. It remains to be seen if the Bears trade him or give him a long-term contract extension before the 2022 regular season. Either way, the 25-year-old will be in play as the first linebacker off the board in IDP fantasy drafts. In 17 games for the Bears last year, he had a career-high 163 tackles (95 solo), three sacks, 12 tackles for loss, four QB hits, an interception returned for a touchdown and three passes defensed to finish as the No. 4 fantasy linebacker.

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Mac Jones Aug 10 6:20pm ET
Mac Jones

New England Patriots second-year quarterback Mac Jones and the offense continue to struggle in training camp this summer. The defense has far outplayed the offense so far in camp, and The Athletic's Chad Graff thinks it's fair to be worried about the offense heading into the 2022 season. ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss thinks it wouldn't be a surprise if Jones doesn't play in the preseason opener on Thursday night against the New York Giants based on practices this week. The Patriots are replacing offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who held the position for the last decade. It's still early, but neither the running game nor the passing game has gotten going. It's not great news for the fantasy stock of anyone in this offense, including Jones, who should be viewed as a low-end QB2 in 2022.

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Deshaun Watson Aug 10 6:10pm ET
Deshaun Watson

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is scheduled to start the team's preseason opener on Friday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, along with most of the rest of the starters, as long as he isn't suspended indefinitely by then. The NFL has appealed Watson's six-game suspended, which was handed down by Sue L. Robinson, and they are pushing for a season-long suspension for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. The 26-year-old wouldn't be allowed to practice during training camp or play in preseason games if he's given a year-long ban. Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct by 30 massage therapists during appointments in 2019 and 2020, when he was with the Houston Texans. At the very least, Watson will be suspended for six games in 2022, making him more of a low-end QB2 target in fantasy drafts.

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Nyheim Hines Aug 10 2:50pm ET
Nyheim Hines

Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines has been hyped up all offseason as the Colts look to get him more involved in the passing attack in 2022. According to ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler, Indy expects at least 60 receptions from Hines. The 25-year-old has caught 63 passes in a season twice, including his rookie year in 2018. His total of 40 catches for 310 yards and one touchdown were all career-lows, but the addition of quarterback Matt Ryan should change that. Jonathan Taylor will remain the team's bell-cow back on early downs for good reason, but the Colts will use Hines plenty as a pass-catcher, making him an intriguing RB3/4 with upside in point-per-reception fantasy leagues. For what it's worth, head coach Frank Reich recommends picking up Hines in fantasy drafts.

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Melvin Gordon Aug 10 2:40pm ET
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Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett said that running back Melvin Gordon III (foot) is dealing with a foot injury that the team is managing. As a result, he didn't take part in training camp practice on Wednesday. Gordon's injury doesn't seem very serious at all, so it shouldn't be anything to worry about with the team's first preseason game coming this Saturday. The 29-year-old re-signed with Denver this offseason, to the disappointment of Javonte Williams backers, and the new coaching staff is expected to once again use the two backs in tandem in 2022. Williams is the more explosive back and should be considered the 1A in this backfield, but Gordon remains a thorn in his side. At best, Gordon will be an RB3/flex and handcuff for those that roster Williams.

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Tee Higgins Aug 10 2:40pm ET
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Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said that wide receiver Tee Higgins (shoulder) is ready to go, but the team is taking it slow with him in training camp. "He looks good," Taylor said. Higgins should rejoin the Bengals offense in team work at camp next week. The 23-year-old pass-catcher had labrum surgery in March, which has kept him off the field so far this offseason, but he's still expected to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. He took a step forward in his second season in 2021, going for 74 receptions (110 targets), 1,091 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 14 regular season games. Despite plenty of options for quarterback Joe Burrow through the air, Higgins is one of his favorite targets and should be considered a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 in fantasy football.

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DeVonta Smith Aug 10 2:30pm ET
DeVonta Smith

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said that wide receiver DeVonta Smith (groin) remains day-to-day, but he'll miss his fifth straight training camp practice on Wednesday. Smith suffered a minor groin injury in practice late last week and is being held out as a precaution. The Eagles starters are expected to see a series or two of work in the preseason opener this Friday against the New York Jets, but it remains to be seen if Smith will play. The 23-year-old had 64 receptions for 916 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games in his rookie season, but the addition of No. 1 wideout A.J. Brown will take targets away from the second-year wideout. Still, Smith could make plenty of noise if the Eagles devote more attention to their passing game and quarterback Jalen Hurts takes a step forward as a passer. Smith should be considered a WR3 with upside in fantasy football drafts.

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Ken Crawley Aug 10 2:20pm ET
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The San Francisco 49ers signed former New Orleans Saints cornerback Ken Crawley to an undisclosed one-year deal on Wednesday. Crawley played in only six games with the Saints last year and had three solo tackles. He hasn't played in double-digit games in an NFL season since 2018 due to injuries and will be hoping to latch on in San Francisco as secondary depth. The 29-year-old has a total of 138 tackles (125 solo), four tackles for loss, two interceptions, 32 passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in his six NFL seasons.

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Zach Wilson Aug 10 1:00pm ET
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Simi Fehoko Aug 10 1:00pm ET
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Adam Thielen Aug 10 12:50pm ET
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K.J. Osborn Aug 10 12:50pm ET
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Kellen Mond Aug 10 12:40pm ET
Kellen Mond

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond has struggled at training camp and has thrown interceptions consistently. He's also operating with poor timing and checks down far too often, even in two-minute drills. When he's been forced off platform, his accuracy plummets and he often underthrows wide-open receivers. Mond has yet to win a situational drill in camp this summer. Sean Mannion hasn't played very well either, but he's been much more consistent than Mond. The Athletic's Arif Hasan wouldn't be surprised if the Vikings stick with Mannion as the direct backup to Kirk Cousins to open the regular season.

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Mitchell Trubisky Aug 10 12:30pm ET
Mitchell Trubisky

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky is believed to have the inside track to win the starting job in training camp over Mason Rudolph and rookie first-rounder Kenny Pickett. This was the expectation going into training camp, and it's still the case despite the fact that Trubisky hasn't exactly looked great in practices so far. It's still technically an open competition and the Steelers haven't officially named Trubisky the starter, but that's the way that things appear to be headed. He's taken almost all of the first-team repetitions When Week 1 rolls around, it will almost certainly be Trubisky under center for Pittsburgh. But he won't have a long leash if he struggles, and he'll be a low-end QB2 in fantasy football.

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Justin Jefferson Aug 10 12:30pm ET
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Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson continues to have an incredible training camp this summer, and opposing cornerbacks have done little to limit him. He is winning on every route in every situation. It's no secret that Jefferson will be the focus of the offense, and camp practices have reflected that. Adam Thielen is also looking more like his previous self, with his play more reminiscent of his most productive stretch from 2016 to 2018. Thielen has had some injury-shortened seasons recently. K.J. Osborn could also play a bigger role in the offense in 2022, and he may have improved more than any other player in camp. Jefferson has 196 catches on 292 targets for 3,016 yards and 17 touchdowns in his two NFL seasons. Once Cooper Kupp comes off the board in fantasy football drafts, Jefferson should be right behind him.

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