We have no doubt that Deshaun Watson is preparing to play NFL football in 2021. What we don't know is ... pretty much everything else.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is attempting to advance the ball on some storylines relating to the Houston Texans' in-limbo quarterback, but we are frankly not sure there is really much clarity here.
"There’s no clarity on whether he plans to show up for training camp right now,” Fowler reported, before continuing (hat-tip The Spun): “The Texans knew he wasn’t going to show up for OTAs or minicamp ... It’s largely the same stance right now, but that might be out of Watson’s hands because the league could place him on a commissioner exempt list as they get closer to training camp because his case is still in the information case — there’s no clarity on the criminal side or the lawsuits.”
There is in some ways no change in status here; If the league determines that Watson belongs on the exempt list, he will likely show up to camp and then be placed on paid leave - as that's the way he can earn his paycheck. (Failing to show up would put his paycheck right there in limbo with him.)
(Sidebar: At some point - soon, as camp begins on July 27 - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell owes it to Texans fans, the franchise, and yes, to Watson himself - to go public with a ruling.)
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The NFL has moved slowly. So has the system of jurisprudence as it relates to the 22 charges of sexual misconduct against the Texans standout, who desires a trade away from Houston - another concept that has been put on freeze while the NFL waits for some clarity.
Fowler does add one new wrinkle to the proceedings, reporting that despite the allegations against him, Watson has told the NFL that he is willing to do whatever he needs to be eligible to play this season.
“I am told that Watson, through his lawyer Rusty Hardin, made clear to the NFL that he would cooperate with them if they wanted to interview him at some point. So, right now, we wait and see,” Fowler said. “But Watson is preparing to play the season.”
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