Deshaun Watson throws during Cleveland Browns' first OTA practice

Akron Beacon Journal

The Browns were back on the field for the first of their 10 offseason team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday. Quarterback Deshaun Watson was among the active participants.

Watson threw during Tuesday's OTA, the team announced. The quarterback, who underwent shoulder surgery on Nov. 21, has been steadily building up the shoulder through a meticulously planned ramp-up program formulated by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, among others.

Tuesday's work for Watson featured him working some in individual drills, according to a source. He won't, however, throw during Wednesday's OTA, which is the first one open to the media.

“I think in this process right now, it's all about load management and not doing too much, even though I probably could," Watson said during an April 16 press conference. "So yeah, we just make sure that we’re taking it day by day and we do exactly what everyone came on months before got on that call and we put the plan together just to make sure we're on the right track and staying on the right track and not getting ahead of ourselves.”

Watson, in his media availability on the second day of the offseason program on April 16, stressed the importance of not rushing things in the recovery process as he builds himself up after he suffered the broken glenoid in the Week 10 win over the Baltimore Ravens. He didn't start throwing again until mid-March while rehabbing out in Los Angeles.

However, Watson at that time did state that his expectation was to get on the field at some point in OTAs. The caveat was over how his shoulder handled the time between mid-April and mid-May, which makes the fact he was able to throw Tuesday a positive sign.

"That's the plan," Watson said in April. "We talked previously about that. I think we've got to see how these next couple of weeks go. I know for Dr. ElAttrache, he wants to be a little bit more conservative just because it was a joint, the glenoid labrum, so he wants to really make sure that we're not doing too much and other experts that was a part of it said the same thing. This is an injury that you, for spring, you want to be a little bit more conservative and this summer and get ready for training camp."

Watson has stated this spring that he fully intends to be back on the field when the Browns kick off the regular season on Sept. 8 against the Dallas Cowboys in Cleveland. He has made just 12 starts over the last two seasons combined since the Browns' March 18, 2022, trade with the Houston Texans.

The Browns signed a pair of experienced backups during the opening wave of free agency in order to help navigate Watson's recovery program. Former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston was signed with more than 90 starts under his belt, while Tyler Huntley was also added after having started nine regular-season and one playoff game for the Ravens.

Those two are expected to get a lion's share of the reps during the OTAs as Watson continues to progress. Another Browns quarterback, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, is also coming back from an injury — his being a hip — that has limited his participation in the offseason program.

"We always want to be cautious and mindful of our guys coming back from injury concerns," general manager Andrew Berry said at the owners meetings in late March. "But Tyler’s addition is even independent of that. We’ve always had four quarterbacks. We have two quarterbacks coming off season-ending injuries. Tyler was just us being flexible, adaptable to an opportunity that quite honestly we didn’t expect in the spring."

Cleveland Browns add WR Matt Landers

The Browns made one roster move on Tuesday, signing wide receiver Matt Landers. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Landers (6-4, 200) is officially in his first season out of the University of Arkansas.

Landers was originally signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2023. He spent part of his rookie season on the Seahawks’ and Panthers’ practice squads.

Chris Easterling can be reached at ceasterling@thebeaconjournal.com. Read more about the Browns at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/browns. Follow him on X at @ceasterlingABJ