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New Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson speaks during a press conference at the NFL Football Team’s training facility, Friday, March 25, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

PA

A resolution to the NFL’s investigation into Deshaun Watson’s conduct could take some time, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday.

The quarterback, now with Cleveland after a trade from Houston, will not be charged with criminal sexual misconduct charges brought by 22 women. He still faces 22 civil lawsuits.

Goodell said “there is no timeline” for the NFL to complete its investigation.

“We’re going to let the facts guide us, find all the facts we can,” Goodell said. “At least there is resolution on the criminal side. Our investigation will hopefully have access to more information. We’ll talk to anyone who can give us perspective.

As for a possible suspension of Watson, Goodell noted that a disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the league and the players’ union would make that decision. But he dismissed the idea that Watson would be on the commissioner’s exemption list, which would bar him from participating in Browns activities, including gambling.

Watson missed the entire 2021 season in Houston, although he remained on the Texans roster and got paid. The team chose to make it inactive every week.

“I think at this point civil litigation wouldn’t trigger that,” Goodell said of the exemption list.

Watson signed a record, fully guaranteed, $230 million contract that includes a base salary of $1 million in the first season in the event he is suspended by the NFL. When asked if this type of contract bothers him, Goodell said it would have no impact on Watson’s discipline.

“The personal conduct policy is very serious for us and it doesn’t need a criminal (indictment),” Goodell noted. “A decision will be made on whether a discipline is and what it is.”

In previous similar cases involving such civil allegations, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed four games and then Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott missed six games.

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