Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, right, addresses Deshaun Watson's off-the-field baggage during his introductory press conference at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility on Friday.

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski still backs starting quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The Browns struggled to a 7-10 finish, good for last place in the AFC North, while Watson served a 12-game suspension for gross sexual misconduct to begin the season. Watson didn’t exactly light the world on fire upon his return to the field, either.

But that’s all water under the bridge, according to Stefanski.

“There was things that Deshaun was working through,” Stefanski said about Watson on The Ken Carman Show. “I get to see him every day in practice. I’m very, very optimistic about Deshaun and how he’s going to perform. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”

Stefanski backed Watson as a human being, too.

“I’ve been very, very respectful of everyone’s opinion,” Stefanski said. “I can just tell you from being around Deshaun, he’s a good person and a good teammate. I think he showed his teammates, if you talk to his teammates, you see a guy that pushed them.”

Stefanski will enter his fourth season as head coach in 2023. He currently maintains a 26-24 record as a head coach, and he recently hired Jim Schwartz to replace the fired Joe Woods as defensive coordinator.

The Browns originally traded for Watson in March 2022.

[The Ken Carman Show]