CLEVELAND — NFL officials will meet this week with Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson as the league continues to investigate whether he violated its personal conduct policy, a person familiar with the plans told The Associated Press on Monday.

Watson, who is facing 22 civil lawsuits from massage therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct, is scheduled to speak with the league’s representatives in Texas, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Watson is facing potential discipline by the league, which is independently investigating his actions while he was with the Houston Texans. Commissioner Roger Goodell said as recently as April 28 at the NFL draft that there was no timeframe on any possible ruling on Watson.

Reporter Josina Anderson was first to report the planned meeting on Twitter.

“We have no update and will decline comment on that tweet,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to the AP. “There’s no timetable as the review is active and ongoing.”

Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, told the AP he will leave it to the NFL to discuss its schedule of interviews, but he assumes that “Watson will be interviewed at great length soon.”


The meeting with league officials is a significant development for Watson, who signed a fully guaranteed $230 million contract in March with the Browns after initially turning down a trade to Cleveland.

The Browns, who sent three first-round draft picks and six total selections to the Texans for Watson, are eager to find out if they’ll be without him for any portion of this season after making such a major investment in the three-time Pro Bowler.

In March, two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints from 10 women. He has denied all wrongdoing and said during a news conference with the Browns in April that he “never assaulted or disrespected or harassed any woman in my life.”

Watson has given depositions in several of the civil cases. To this point, he has not missed any of Cleveland’s offseason programs.

It’s not clear with whom Watson will be meeting this week.

Lisa Friel, a former prosecutor in New York, has been heading the investigation. Once it is completed, former U.S. District Court Judge Sue Robinson, a disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the league and NFL Players Association, will decide if Watson violated the conduct policy and will report to Goodell.


There is some precedent in this type of case. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended six games by the league in 2010 after a 20-year-old college student accused him of sexually assaulting her. The punishment was later reduced to four games.

As his future with the Browns remains uncertain, Watson is treating some of his new teammates to a weekend in the Bahamas to do some bonding and field work. It’s not known which players will be making the trip with Watson.

Last month, cornerback Denzel Ward said Watson and All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett were planning trips for the Browns’ offense and defense.

FALCONS: The Atlanta Falcons signed inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski to a one-year contract, and also added receiver Geronimo Allison to the roster.

Kwiatkoski has played in 77 career games with 34 starts in six seasons with the Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders. The 6-foot-2, 242-pounder was a fourth-round pick by the Bears in 2016.

Kwiatkoski appeared in eight games for the Raiders in 2021, totaling 21 tackles with one tackle for loss and one forced fumble. For his career, he has 286 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, seven sacks, six forced fumbles and two interceptions.


Allison had 89 receptions for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns in 49 games, including 14 starts, over five seasons with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Allison got into three games with one start for Detroit last season. He didn’t make a catch.

The Falcons also signed tight end Tucker Fisk and defensive back Tre Webb. Receiver Chad Hansen, tight end Daniel Helm and cornerback Luther Kirk were released.

JETS: The New York Jets signed defensive end Jermaine Johnson, the No. 26 overall pick in the NFL draft, to a fully guaranteed four-year, $13.1 million rookie deal.

Johnson joins cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, selected fourth overall, as Jets first-round picks under contract. Gardner signed his four-year, $38.7 million deal on May 7. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson, the No. 10 pick last month, is unsigned.

The deal for Johnson includes a $6.7 million signing bonus and the standard fifth-year option for the Jets.


RAVENS:  The Baltimore Ravens signed linebacker Vince Biegel.

Biegel played five games last season for the Miami Dolphins. He also started 10 games for Miami in 2019. Prior to that, he played for the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.

VIKINGS: The Minnesota Vikings hired Demitrius Washington as vice president of football operations, a new position under new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah that’s designed to take the front office deeper into data-based decision-making.

Washington was the manager of football research and development for the past two years with the San Francisco 49ers, focusing on process improvement and statistical analysis. He was an analyst in the department for five years prior to that, when he worked closely with Adofo-Mensah.

TITANS: The Tennessee Titans have signed veteran defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker and cornerback Kenneth George.

The Titans also placed safety Jamal Carter on injured reserve.


The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Walker has played 49 games in five seasons with Denver and Houston. He has 12 1/2 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 23 quarterback hits after being a second-round pick at No. 51 overall out of Florida State by Denver in 2017.

Walker spent last season with Houston where he had 31 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks and seven quarterback hits.

The 6-foot George played 33 games in four seasons at the University of Tennessee.

Carter played one game with the Titans last season, and he has played 29 NFL games in his career with Denver and Atlanta.

BILLS: Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas told The Associated Press he and several former teammates are coming together in Buffalo this week to help support families of the shooting victims.

Among those players expected to make the trip are Hall of Famers defensive end Bruce Smith and receiver Andre Reed, along with Thomas and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who like Thomas lives in the area.


“Those guys said right away, `We’ll be here this week because that’s our city. We love it and we want to be supportive,`” Thomas said. “They want to see what they can do and how they can help, because they were really a part of this community for a number of years and they want to continue to help.”

Thomas, who has already pledged $10,000 of support to the victims’ families from his charitable foundation, said it was too early to provide any details of the gathering.

AWARDS: Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and the late Greg Knapp have been selected as the Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award winners by the Professional Football Writers of America.

Frazier and Knapp are the 19th and 20th recipients of the Dr. Z Award, which was instituted by the PFWA in 2014.

The Dr. Z Award is given for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL. The award is named for Zimmerman, who covered the NFL for 29 years as Sports Illustrated’s lead pro football writer.

Zimmerman is widely considered one of the most influential football writers of all time, and his 1970 “A Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football” and revised 1984 “The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football” are textbooks to this day for young football writers trying to learn the game – and trying to learn to write about the game. He started to cover the NFL in 1966, and he began at Sports Illustrated in 1979. Zimmerman stayed at SI until his writing career was cut short by a series of strokes in November 2008. He served as PFWA president during the 1982 season.


Frazier is in his 24th season as a coach in the NFL in 2022, and his sixth with Buffalo as defensive coordinator. He also has been Bills assistant head coach since 2020. In 2021, Buffalo had the NFL’s No. 1 total defense in yards allowed and the No. 1 scoring defense.

And in 2020, the defense was third in total takeaways. Frazier’s Buffalo defenses have been ranked in the NFL’s top five in total yards in three of the past four seasons.

Knapp had just started his 26th season as an NFL assistant coach when he was killed in a bicycle accident in July 2021 after he had joined the New York Jets as passing game coordinator.

He was hired by the 49ers in 1995, and he was San Francisco’s offensive quality control coach (1995-97), quarterbacks coach (1998-2000) and offensive coordinator (2001-03).

Knapp was offensive coordinator for Atlanta (2004-06), Oakland (2007-08) and Seattle (2009). He was the quarterbacks coach in Houston in 2010-11, and he returned to the Raiders as offensive coordinator in 2012. He joined Denver in 2013 as quarterbacks coach, and he added passing game coordinator duties from 2014-16. He rejoined Atlanta as quarterbacks coach (2018-20), before he was hired by the Jets.

Other 2022 nominees for the Dr. Z Award were longtime Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach/defensive coordinator Keith Butler, the late defensive line coach Bobb McKittrick, and the late defensive coordinator Floyd Peters.

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