Browns weighing up Brissett reps split as Watson returns to practice

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Deshaun Watson returned to practice with the Cleveland Browns for the first time since copping an 11-game ban, but head coach Kevin Stefanski insists preparing quarterback Jacoby Brissett remains the priority.

Watson was suspended for 11 games in August for violating the league's personal conduct policy by committing sexual assault, per the NFL, on massage therapists.

The quarterback, who was traded to the Browns in the offseason, was last week permitted to return to sit in on team meetings and work out at their training facility, but Wednesday marked the first time since August 30 he practiced with the team.

Brissett has started all nine games this season for the Browns, who are 3-6, although it has been slated that Watson will slot straight back in when available in Week 13 against his former franchise, the Houston Texans.

In the meantime, Stefanski insisted that striking the balance in reps between preparing Brissett for the upcoming games, including Sunday's clash with the Buffalo Bills, was a consideration as they re-integrate Watson.

"Deshaun can come back to practice. That's the next step," Stefanski told reporters. "We'll get him out there in practice but Jacoby is starting.

"He's going to put everything in this game, like he does each week, his preparation is not changing. My preparation with him is not changing. It's just a matter of finding the right amount. That's something we need to work through."

Brissett was confident he would be prepared and ready to face the Bills, even if he splits practice reps with Watson.

"That's not my job to balance it. That's the coach's job to balance how he splits things up," Brissett said. "I just have to go out there and prepare how I always prepare, do my job and then control what I can control.

"We've talked about a lot of things going into practice about how things will be split up. I feel confident that I'll be more than fine going into the game."

Brissett has a 63.8 per cent completion rate for 2,074 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

Lake-effect snowfall is forecast for the western New York region over coming days ahead of the Bills-Browns game at Bills Stadium on Sunday.