HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans will return to NRG Stadium on Tuesday for the start of the 2021 training camp. As of now, Deshaun Watson is not expected to be there.
Sure, Watson has made it clear that his intentions are to be traded. The Texans, for now at least, have no desire to move him. Maybe that's because the asking price is too low. Maybe they believe the 25-year-old could have a change of heart?
Either way, Watson is still very much a Texan. His name still appears on the team website, as do photos of him donning the No. 4 battle red jersey.
With all that in mind, could Watson actually pull a fast one and be at camp Tuesday? Maybe not Tuesday, but some point this August before Week 1?
As of now, yes he can.
On top of asking to leave the organization, Watson is facing his own battles outside the realm of football. Currently, he still face is 22 civil cases of sexual misconduct and sexual assault.
The NFL is undergoing an investigation to see what the ramifications could be among the league's personal conduct policy. That investigation started in late-March.
Training camp begins in four days. The NFL has not made a decision on Watson's status.
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As of now, Watson isn't suspended by the team, or by the league. We think he could walk through the door tomorrow and be welcomed back with open arms by new general manager Nick Caserio and first-year head coach David Culley.
Culley, who worked with Watson during the 2018 Pro Bowl, stated part of the reason the Texans were an option for him was the opportunity to coach the franchise quarterback full-time.
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“The only thing I knew was I was being interviewed for head coach, Deshaun Watson is a Houston Texan,” Culley said during his introductory press conference last February. “That’s all I was concerned about and all I knew. He is a Houston Texan I want him to be a Houston Texan, and the reason I am in this position is because he is going to be a Houston Texan.”
The ball, in one sense, sits in Watson's court — at least until the NFL decides to weigh in. Then again, who knows when that will happen?
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin has claimed on multiple occasions that any sexual contact between Watson and his accusers was consensual. On the flip side, Texas lawyer Tony Buzbee is fighting for this to go to court.
Neither side is looking to settle, meaning a deposition will occur at some point.
Those lawyers cost money. So does the case and potential settlements that could unfold, or other monetary transactions if Watson is found guilty. Currently, Watson is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and is expect to earn more than $10 million should he report to camp.
Next year, the salary will expand to $30 million a year thanks to his four-year, $156 million extension signed last September. The only way the check goes through is he if shows up.
For each day he misses, the league (not the Texans) will fine Watson $50,000 a practice. That number will expand once the regular season begins.
From what we know, Watson still is not expected to report. But until the NFL rules one way or another, Watson can return to practice. In a way, it would benefit him just to grab the check.
Of course, only D4 knows exactly what will happen when Tuesday morning rolls around. And, of course, the football world will be watching.
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