While the civil lawsuits placed against him seem to be progressing at a snail's pace, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has subtly hinted that he still plans to play this NFL season.
Watson's social media channels have remained largely silent since his turbulent year began in January. However, the Pro Bowler liked a tweet on Monday from a fantasy football fan who asked him to respond if he planned on playing in 2021.
OK, this could mean nothing more Watson playing along with fans. Or ... could it be the first sign from the quarterback about his legitimate intentions to play - somewhere - in 2021?
The simple "like" of a tweet is as close to a public statement as we've received from Watson since the lawsuits against him began piling up.
Could this mean he does not expect to be suspended by the NFL this season? Perhaps. And given that his Instagram has featured videos of him working out with other NFL quarterbacks recently, this "like" seems to reinforce the narrative that he believes he will see the field this season.
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Whether that is for the Texans or elsewhere, of course, remains to be seen. While under contract in Houston, Watson did submit a trade request in January. However, as of Monday NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the Texans have yet to show any intention to trade their star player.
Another recent report suggested that due to the fact that Watson's deposition is not set to take place until February of 2022, he may see game time until at least 2023 should he be found guilty.
So with all this in mind, should Watson's social-media activity be taken with a grain of salt? Yes. He will surely have been made well aware of the true timeline he may be facing in order to return to football.
Despite the trade request and pending lawsuits and fact that he likely won't be in uniform when the Texans open training camp later this month, is it still possible that Watson plays in 2021? As of today, he "likes" his chances.
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