NFL apparently posted Deshaun Watson press release before settlement was final

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Thursday was one of those days when a lot of things happened in a short period of time. Lost in the shuffle is the apparent fact that the NFL posted the press release regarding the Deshaun Watson settlement prematurely.

Things got rolling when the Browns announced that their Thursday media availability would be delayed. Myles Simmons pasted that tweet into the PFT text chain, and we then mobilized the effort to figure out whether the development had anything to do with potential developments in the Deshaun Watson case.

“There will be news today,” a source with knowledge of the situation told PFT, at 11:27 am ET.

That’s when, apparently, a guy named Joseph Pasteris logged into the NFL Communications website and struck gold. It was the ultimate right place/right time moment, with the press release announcing the 11-game suspension and $5 million fine posted for the world to see.

Pasteris saw it. He: tweeted the basics at 11:36 am ET. He took a screen shot at 11:37 am ET. He: tweeted it: at 11:38 am ET.

By 11:50 am ET, we’d confirmed from a source with knowledge of the deal that the terms as reported were accurate, that the press release was not an elaborate hoax.

There were clunky efforts to push back from some of those who presumably had been in line to get the standard five-minute head’s up before the official announcement was posted. Schefty, for example, was pointing out on the air that Watson had yet to actually sign the agreement. Before that could even begin to register, it was clear that the deal was done.

The only lingering question is whether the posting of the release was accidental, or accidentally on purpose. Someone had to push the button to publish the press release. While it’s not impossible that someone’s finger slipped, it’s hard to imagine folks not talking about extra precautions with something this important.

Is it possible that a deal was done but Watson was having second thoughts? That someone authorized posting the release in order to ensure that Watson didn’t back out?

We don’t know, and we won’t know. But we do know that the press release apparently showed up before it was supposed to.

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