CLEVELAND — Deshaun Watson knows his football fate.
On Monday morning, the NFL's Disciplinary Officer, former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson, ruled that the Cleveland Browns star quarterback would be suspended for the first six games of the 2022 NFL season for violating the league's personal conduct policy, according to multiple reports.
While it's possible the league could still appeal the decision -- Watson and the NFL Players Association have already said they wouldn't -- which would then be heard by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, at the very least, it appears that Jacoby Brissett will open the season as Cleveland's starting quarterback. With that in mind, here are five things to know about Brissett, who is in line to be the Browns' 18th different Week 1 starting signal-caller since 1999.
A 4-star prospect coming out of Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Brissett began his college career at the University of Florida but later transferred to North Carolina State. While he was required to sit out the 2013 season as a result of his transfer, Brissett still managed to show his team-first approach by driving to road games to cheer on his team.
"Those things made you realize he had the intangibles," offensive coordinator then-N.C. State offensive coordinator Matt Canada told USA Today at the time. "He was looked at as the guy that had to be the answer, and that was hard. There was pressure there, but he's a very driven guy. He wanted to be good for the right reasons and handled it pretty well. Obviously you don't know for sure until you play in a game, but we felt pretty good about him."
Brissett went on to star in two seasons as the starting quarterback for the Wolfpack, completing 59.9 percent of his passes for 5,268 yards, 43 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also infamously researched recipes on the social media site Pinterest to provide his offensive linemen with baked goods before games.
Learning from the best
The New England Patriots selected Brissett in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. And while he began the season as the team's third-string signal-caller behind Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, it didn't take long for him to make his NFL debut.
With Brady suspended due to the 'Deflategate' scandal and Garoppolo dealing with a shoulder injury, Brissett started in New England's Week 3 matchup vs. the Houston Texans. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound quarterback proceeded to complete 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 103 yards and rushed for a 27-yard touchdown in the Patriots' 27-0 victory.
Brissett would go on to start against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4 -- a 16-0 loss -- but was placed on injured reserve the following week with a thumb injury. While he only spent one year in New England, he still has fond memories of studying under Brady during what was ultimately the Patriots' fifth Super Bowl-winning season.
“One day, it was during training camp,” Brissett shared with reporters last season when reflecting on his rookie season. “Everybody’s playing games in the locker room while we’re on break, and I was playing. [Brady] walked into the locker room and was like ‘what are you doing? Didn’t you just mess up this in practice?’ He’s like, ‘then you shouldn’t be playing.'”
Starting in the Circle City
New England traded Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts ahead of the start of the 2017 season. With Andrew Luck recovering from shoulder surgery, Brissett went on to start in 15 games, completing 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions while leading the Colts to a 4-11 record.
Brissett would return to a backup role in 2018, but took back over as Indianapolis' starter in 2019 following Luck's surprise retirement. In 15 starts, he completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 18 touchdowns and six interceptions, with the Colts amassing a 7-8 record with him under center.
In 2020, Indianapolis signed veteran Phillip Rivers to be its starting quarterback, with Brissett once again resuming his role as the team's backup. He did, however, receive some situational playing time in what would wind up being his final season with the Colts.
Going to Miami
After becoming a free agent following the 2020 season, Brissett took his talents to South Beach, signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. While Tua Tagovailoa entered the season as the Dolphins' starter, Brissett wound up appearing in 11 games -- including five starts -- as the 2021 first-round pick battled a ribs injury.
While his raw stats were nothing to write home about -- he completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 1,283 yards, 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions -- Brissett rated as advanced analytics site Pro Football Focus' No. 15 quarterback for the season. He also further enhanced his reputation as a QB sneak specialist, which could be appealing to Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski, who has been known to be aggressive in fourth-and-short situations.
Odds and ends
While he's best known for his ability on the gridiron, Brissett is no slouch on the hardwood. Having referred to basketball as his "first love," he even considered playing both football and basketball in college and recently won a shooting competition among Browns players during a trip to the Cleveland Cavaliers' team facility.
Brissett was also mentored by Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells. The two formed a connection when Brissett was in high school and Parcells was spending the winter in South Florida.