Nov 12, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) is helped up by running back Jerome Ford (34) after being tackled out of bounds during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Following the Cleveland Browns’ 33-31 come-from-behind victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Cleveland sports talk radio spent the following two days in an unfamiliar state of euphoria.

Such happiness, however, was only bound to last for so long. And it came to a crashing halt on Wednesday when the Browns announced that quarterback Deshaun Watson — who went 14-for-14 in the second half on Sunday and had been playing well in recent weeks — will miss the remainder of the 2023 season with a fractured shoulder.

As fate would have it, the news was announced just before 9 a.m. ET — when 92.3 The Fan’s The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima was in the middle of its show and The Really Big Show on ESPN 850 Cleveland was about to go on air.

As one might imagine, both shows provided quite the reactions, beginning with a deflated Carman reading the report on air.

“I am sitting here stunned. Absolutely stunned,” Lima replied to the news. “Maybe I shouldn’t be given the social media that Deshaun Watson put out earlier today. But that is unbelievable.”

“He has his signature moment as a Cleveland Browns quarterback and he is done for the year with not one injury but two injuries and an immediate surgery. The high ankle sprain and also now the shoulder situation, which they did say at the end he is expected to make a full recovery for next year. But that is two squandered years of the five-year Deshaun Watson contract.”

“We were just talking about, Kenny, the emotions of the fanbase. The ticket prices had gone through the roof for the Steelers game this week. We were talking about contenders — I mean, our videos from earlier this week were about this team contending and being ready to grab this city and finally grab them to go on what could be a magical ride the rest of the year.”

“And that carpet is pulled out from underneath just a few days removed from his signature moment as the Cleveland Browns quarterback. That is heartbreaking for this city and this team and those guys who were warriors on the football field. And obviously for Deshaun Watson.”

“No matter where you are in the Deshaun Watson camp, you’ve gotta know, you feel bad for an athlete who gets his season cut short when he looked like he was playing the most confident football he had played this entire season. That is shocking news from Berea. Did not expect anything like that.”

Meanwhile, all a stunned Carman could do would stare.

Down the dial on ESPN Cleveland, Tony Rizzo was reacting with his signature outrage.

“As a Browns fan, we’re not allowed to have nice things!” Rizzo shouted. “I am sick. I am sick. When did this happen? No one knew about this? Because if it was that Patrick Queen hit, I will drive to Baltimore and throw down. And I mean it.”

Despite his insistence, it seems unlikely Rizzo would actually “throw down” with the Ravens’ middle linebacker — although it definitely paints quite the visual. But while Cleveland’s radio hosts might have been down in the dumps, at least their callers did their best to provide some optimism.

[92.3 The Fan, ESPN Cleveland]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.