Two weeks after a Texas grand jury declined to file charges against star NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson related to nine criminal complaints alleging sexual assault or misconduct, another grand jury has done the same. The Brazoria County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday that its own county's grand jury, which had been considering a separate accusation of misconduct, will not indict Watson and considers his criminal matter closed. This comes days after the Browns officially acquired Watson in a blockbuster trade with the Texans, then signed him to a record five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract.

Earlier Thursday, the Browns told ESPN through a team spokesperson that the organization was aware of the possibility of a second grand jury investigating Watson. Coach Kevin Stefanski, general manager Andrew Berry and team owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam all released statements after the club's acquisition of Watson, emphasizing the Browns' "extensive" research of the QB's off-field situation. While the QB has not been criminally charged for any alleged misconduct, he still faces 22 civil lawsuits alleging "serial predator" behavior related to private massage therapy sessions while playing for the Texans.

"The NFL has a disturbing history of enabling and excusing the abuse of women, and unfortunately this is just the latest example,'' said victims' rights attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel. "The Browns' leadership is telling survivors that the possibility of winning more football games is more important than the 22 women who have bravely come forward with serious allegations of abuse against Watson."   

Watson remains under investigation by the NFL for his off-field conduct. The league announced recently that his trade to the Browns has "no effect on the ... ongoing and comprehensive investigation of the serious allegations against Watson." It's possible the NFL could impose a suspension for a violation of the personal conduct policy, with ESPN reporting that violations related to sexual assault carry a minimum six-game ban. Watson's new contract with Cleveland also suggests the QB is bracing for a suspension, with the Browns paying most of his 2022 earnings in the form of a signing bonus.