Browns’ All-Pro Joel Bitonio Unconcerned About Deshaun Watson Boos: ‘Cleveland Against The World’

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Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns were booed when they stepped onto the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday night in their first preseason game.

For veteran offensive lineman Joel Bitonio, he’s not reading too much into it. Bitonio said Saturday he expected more of the same wherever the team travels this season.

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“It seems like more than ever, [it’s] Cleveland against the world, so we’ll be ready for it,” he said via the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Watson made his first appearance in any kind of NFL game since Jan. 3, 2021. He requested a trade from the Houston Texans following the 2020 season then was hit with two dozen civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault. A disciplinary officer tasked with investigating Watson’s case recommended a six-game suspension for the quarterback, but the NFL decided to appeal the case.

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Watson was shaky in the Browns’ 24-13 win over the Jaguars. He was 1-for-5 with seven passing yards.

Bitonio, who was an All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 2021, said he didn’t think being booed rattled Watson.

“No, I think you expect it. …. Going into any game I’ve been to it’s been loud, it’s been boos that first time you get out on the series anyway. I don’t think it rattled him,” he said.

“I’m sure every stadium we go, we’ll be booed. I don’t know if it will get worse. I think people get tired of booing, you know? But I’m sure every time he goes out there, there’ll be some sort of boo to start the game, and we’ll kind of go from there.”

Watson faces a season-long suspension should the NFL win its appeal of the initial six-game ban.