HOUSTON -- Deshaun Watson may have reported to Houston Texans' training camp, but the NFL still may determine his status for the upcoming season. According to a statement from the league released Tuesday afternoon, investigators are still digging deeper into the "serious allegations" against the star quarterback.
The league has not given a timetable for the investigation to be complete.
"The NFL's review of the serious allegations against Deshaun Watson remains ongoing and active," the league statement said. "we are working cooperatively with the Houston Police Department and ensuring that the NFL's inquiry does not interfere with their investigation. As we continue to gather additional information and monitor law enforcement developments, we will make appropriate decisions consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Personal Conduct Policy. At this time, there are no restrictions on Watson’s participation in club activities.”
With no restrictions placed on him during the investigation, Watson is expected to attend the team's first practice Wednesday morning. The former Pro Bowl quarterback and face of the franchise faces 22 civil lawsuits filed against him by 10 women accusing him of sexual misconduct and assault.
Both the Houston police and the NFL opened the investigation in April of this past year.
The saga will likely dominate Texans' training camp, if not they're entire season. At this point Watson is in camp, but after his January trade demands and mounting legal woes the Texans are likely eager to rid themselves of the headache. Further complicating the situation, Houston is reportedly fielding trade offers while the NFL could prevent him from playing in 2021 altogether.
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could place Watson on the exempt list per the league's personal conduct policy. If so, Watson would essentially be on administrative leave with pay until his cases are resolved.
On Monday, Watson's attorney Rusty Hardin told ESPN that of the 10 women who have filed complaints with Houston police, two have not filed lawsuits against Watson.
Watson is entering the final year of his rookie deal, worth $10.5 million in base salary. But last September, he agreed to a four-year, $156 million extension that could conceivably keep him in Houston until the end of 2025.
Watson demanded to be traded in January, following a disagreement with the front office on minority hiring practices. Due to the league's policy on missing training camp, the 25-year-old elected to arrive at camp and avoid being fined $50,000 per day.
His appearance, however, doesn't mean Watson is suddenly happy in Houston. The Texans do plan on finding him a new home, and general manager Nick Caserio is reportedly actively fielding calls from multiple teams.
TexansDaily.com will continue to keep you up to date with everything surrounding Watson and his status for the 2021 season.
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