Deshaun Watson in his return to Houston.

Really, did anyone expect Deshaun Watson would get a hero’s welcome in his return to Houston?

Did anyone think he would look sharp and efficient on the field after not playing since the final week of the 2020 season?

The Cleveland Browns quarterback returned to action Sunday after sitting out the 2021 season, then serving an 11-game suspension due to sexual misconduct and assault allegations. Watson drew a tough assignment in his return, playing on the road against his former team, the Houston Texans.

The Texans traded Watson to the Browns this offseason in the wake of his legal issues. Before all that drama, Watson had been the face of the franchise since being drafted in 2017.

Sunday, Texans fans greeted their former quarterback like public enemy No. 1, showering him with boos before and during the game, and wearing crude T-shirts referencing his sexual assault allegations. And some tailgating fans even set up mock massage tables in the parking lot.

Watson also experienced a really awkward moment before the game, hugging Texans owner Cal McNair.

Watson did not look good against the porous Texans defense, as on this interception.

Watson finished with 12 completions on 22 attempts for 131 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. The Browns won 27-14.  But NFL fans still came fully armed with memes and mean tweets relishing Watson’s struggles.

The Browns next face the Cincinnati Bengals this coming Sunday.

[Matt Young on Twitter; photo via Dov Kleiman on Twitter]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.