The NFL released a statement Tuesday following an incident Monday night during the Steelers-Browns game where quarterback Deshaun Watson was seen making contact with an official but was not flagged.
“Officials are called upon to maintain order on the field, and sometimes while performing those duties, there is inadvertent contact between players and officials,” the NFL said, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. “In this instance, in their judgment, the contact did not rise to the level of a foul.”
During the fourth quarter, Watson ran to the sideline for no gain but was flagged for a personal foul after he grabbed the helmet of Kwon Alexander and dragged him toward the Pittsburgh bench. Tensions flared and Watson tried to get in the face of some Steelers defenders. When an official attempted to separate Watson, he could be seen pushing the official to the side.
Looks like Deshaun Watson got away with putting his hands on an official. Usually a no-no. pic.twitter.com/EbEjDiyaxO— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 19, 2023
He was not assessed a flag for the contact and after the 26–22 loss he denied making contact with the official, saying, “there was no contact with the ref” and they were just “having a conversation.”
Deshaun Watson appears shocked to be asked about contact with ref and insists there was no contact with the ref. pic.twitter.com/FAn7q0mi3z— Landry Locker (@LandryLocker) September 19, 2023
The NFL’s statement puts to bed any notion that Watson could face discipline or even a potential suspension and it appears he’ll be ready to go in Week 3 against the Titans on Sunday with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on CBS.