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Browns general manager Andrew Berry says QB Deshaun Watson will begin throwing in March

INDIANAPOLIS -- After a wild season in which five different quarterbacks started at least one game for the Browns, the focus has shifted back to the passer atop the depth chart.

Deshaun Watson's name hasn't popped up in the news cycle since he suffered a season-ending glenoid fracture in Week 9. It might as well have been in July, judging by how the remaining 10 weeks unfolded.

But as the calendar approaches March, Watson is again a focus. Browns general manager Andrew Berry was happy to deliver positive news regarding the $230 million quarterback Tuesday. After months of recovery and rehab, Watson will begin throwing in March.

"He's worked his tail off in terms of his rehab and recovery," Berry said. "He's in a really good place. We're excited for when the spring hits and we can get him back on the field. He's making really good progress and we're really excited to see that continue."

The news represents an important checkpoint on Watson's road back to the field, especially considering he suffered the injury to his throwing shoulder. It's also an encouraging sign for a Browns team that managed to win without Watson in 2023, but is unlikely to hold out hope it'll be able to repeat its playoff run unless he's a central figure in 2024.

As for the other star who missed most of 2023, Berry was less definitive in his responses regarding running back Nick Chubb, whose name has been tossed into the trade rumor mill due to two reasons: his cap number ($15.825 million in 2024) and his health history, which saw a season-ending knee injury tacked onto it in 2023.

Berry declined to comment on the team's current standing with Chubb. He also admitted that while he was pleased with Cleveland's run game in 2023, it lacked the same punch that Chubb delivers as "the best back in football."

Chubb's road back lacks the clarity Berry provided on Watson Tuesday. That doesn't mean it's less likely he'll return in time to play at some point in 2024, but it's also not the most encouraging sign at this point.

"He's done a great job. You guys know Nick. He works his tail off," Berry said. "He does everything in his power to recover as quickly as possible. It still is very early, and we're, what, six months away from training camp. To say anything more definitively than I did in the middle of January would probably be inaccurate."

If everything holds, it sounds as the Browns can count on a fully healthy Watson returning with plenty of time to prepare for the 2024 season. Whether he'll have Chubb lining up alongside him -- or even on the roster -- remains to be seen.

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