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Around the AFC North: Deshaun Watson Will Debut vs. Ravens If Six-Game Suspension Stands

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson walks on the field during NFL football training camp in Berea, Ohio, Friday, July 29, 2022.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson walks on the field during NFL football training camp in Berea, Ohio, Friday, July 29, 2022.

Cleveland Browns: A Six-Game Ban for Deshaun Watson Would Mean a Season Debut vs. Ravens

If Deshaun Watson's reported six-game suspension stands, his Browns debut will be Week 7 against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

The long wait for a decision on Cleveland's franchise quarterback ended Monday, when former federal judge Sue L. Robinson decided on a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy and did not levy a fine, according to multiple reports.

Watson has been accused of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during message sessions in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women. Watson has denied the accusations and settled 20 lawsuits in June, one case was dropped, and he reportedly recently settled three of the four remaining cases.

The NFLPA and Watson released a joint statement Sunday that they would stand by Robinson's ruling.

The NFL has three days to appeal, and the fallout surrounding Robinson's decision will continue from those who believe a longer suspension was warranted.

A six-game suspension would allow Watson to return after missing just one game against an AFC North opponent – Week 3 against the Steelers.

Watson can participate in practices during training camp and the preseason and was expected to practice with the team Monday.

Cincinnati Bengals: Hayden Hurst Starts Training Camp Strong

After stints with the Ravens and Falcons that didn't pan out the way Hayden Hurst envisioned, he may have found a comfortable fit with the Bengals.

Hayden is off to a strong start in training camp, earning praise from teammates and taking reps with Cincinnati's first-team offense. Surrounded by talented receivers Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, Hurst should see plenty of one-on-one coverage and hopes to take advantage. The former Ravens first-round pick in 2018 said he has never felt more comfortable during his five-year NFL career.

"The coaching staff sees what I'm able to do," Hurst said via Geoff Hobson of "The confidence from the coaching staff. They believe in you and talk to you about stuff. Very transparent. It gives you confidence to go out and do your thing."

Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton is convinced Hurst can be a key weapon in Cincinnati's offense.

"He can really move for his size," Hilton said. "He gives the quarterback a big frame to go across the middle. I feel like he'll be a mismatch in our offense. I think this is the perfect spot for him. With all the weapons and quarterback we have, he's going to get a lot of opportunities to win his one-on-ones."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Wide Receiver George Pickens Is Rookie to Watch

The Steelers have found gems in the draft at wide receiver before, and they may have landed another in second-round pick George Pickens. The former Georgia star had a strong first week of training camp, continuing the momentum he built during the offseason at rookie camp and minicamp.

Mitch Tribusky, Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickens are waging a three-way battle for the starting quarterback job, and whoever wins will have weapons to work with. Wide receiver Diontae Johnson is coming off his best season (107 catches, 1,161 yards, 8 touchdowns), Chase Claypool (59 catches) and tight end Pat Freiermuth (60 catches) are both reliable targets and, running back Najee Harris produced 1,200 yards as a rookie.

Pickens suffered a torn ACL in the spring of 2021, and he was limited to just five catches last season, which likely caused him to fall to the second round. However, the Steelers believe Pickens has fully recovered and will contribute immediately as a rookie.

"You can't really notice he was even hurt last year," Tribusky said via Matthew Marczi of Steelers Depot. "He's picking it up very quick. He's making plays out there and he's turning some heads."

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