WATCH: Tearful Texans QB Deshaun Watson On His Contract - And His Legacy
Anthony R Wood
It's not too often that the public, or even the media, gets to see the softer side of athletes - people whose livelihoods depend on being strong, mentally, and physically. This makes Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson's press conference on Saturday all the more special, as it showed another side of the Pro Bowler, one that really pulls on the heartstrings.
Speaking to the media following the announcement of his four-year, $177.54 million contract extension with the Texans, it didn't take long for Watson to break down.
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"I'm lost for words, honestly. I've been crying a little bit. A lot a bit really," admitted Watson.
Watson was surprised by the Texans media staff, who had organized for family and friends to congratulate him over Zoom on the signing of his new deal.
"It's an amazing moment for me to be able to extend my career in a location, in a place, in a home, I would say, that my family love, that I love," said Watson. "That I want to continue to dive into the community, most of all, and just continue to build my legacy, just build our legacy as a whole and do something that's never been done before."
And then he let the emotions flow.
"Growing up,'' he said, "my word has always been 'legendary.' For me at Gainesville High School, we'd never won a state championship, and I was the first quarterback to do it. At Clemson University, they hadn't won a national championship since who knows when, I was the first one to do it.
"And the Houston Texans organization, being so new, we haven't even gotten to that stage yet. And for me to be able to have that opportunity, with a whole bunch of great teammates and a great coaching staff, a great organization and people upfront, I want to be able to have that on my statue too.
"And that's what I've been working for.''
Entering his fourth season in the NFL, the 24-year-old has already cemented his place as a budding legend in Houston. The best quarterback in the franchise's history, Watson knew that the money would come. The Georgia native displayed maturity beyond his years when discussing the wait for a new deal.
"That was my last and least concern (money)," said Watson. "Honestly, the money is amazing, it's life-changing, it's great, but the biggest thing is for the McNair family, OB (Bill O'Brien), Jack (Easterby), to just trust in me and believe in me that I'm their guy, I'm their quarterback, that's the biggest thing. That really touches me."
Watson has always been humble since his days at Clemson, to his time in the NFL; his attitude has never wavered. Coming from the area he did, growing up in government housing, helping his mother through a cancer battle, to moving to a home provided by Habitat For Humanity, he's not had an easy ride, to say the least.
"Growing up from where I'm from, there's not too many people that make it out, and so, for them to just trust me, it means the most. That's the biggest thing," said Watson, his voice cracking.
O'Brien talks often about wanting his players to be "dependable, tough and smart.'' Watson embodies all three traits. And by showing his emotions, he revealed a realness that is also an enviable trait.