The 22 civil cases against Deshaun Watson will not allow the Houston Texans much leniency in allowing their former franchise quarterback to take the field. There are, of course, ways in which the NFL can overrule the Texans’ initial benching of Watson, so there would be less drama involved if he were to take the field.
Roger Goodell could put Watson on the “exempt” list, meaning any wrongdoing could be addressed after the season, which would allow him to play. But allowing a player who has been credibly accused of sexual harassment play might not be the best look for the league.
Will Deshaun Watson ever play again?
There seems to be no end in sight to the debate into allowing Watson to play football, at least until February of next year. Watson has not been to court yet for the 22 civil lawsuits that have been presented.
Watson will have to wait until the end of the league year for court proceedings to take place. The Texans may be stuck between a rock and a hard place in regards to this situation.
If Watson were to be placed on the commissioner’s “exempt” list, would that cause entirely too much negative attention for the Texans?
The short answer is yes. The Texans seem to be fine without the former top-five quarterback taking the field. Tyrod Taylor played a great game in the Texans’ 37-21 victory over divisional rival Jacksonville Jaguars.
Taylor threw for 21/33 passes for 291 yards and two TDs. The Texans easily beat the Jaguars, and even though the Jags aren’t necessarily the best team in the league, this bodes well for the Texans.
Everyone assumed the Texans would be a giant mess heading into the 2021 season, especially with the focal point being Watson’s status for the season. It appears the Texans will be just fine with the players they relied on in Week 1.
Of late, Watson has been seen during team activities and in the facility. The good news is that coaches and players alike have stated that Watson has not been a distraction at all.
When questioned about Watson being a part of the team’s facilities, general manager Nick Caserio had this to say:
“I’ve had multiple conversations with Deshaun in training camp,” Caserio told reporters. “Like I said, his attitude has been good, he hasn’t been a problem, he hasn’t been a disruption. So, we’re going to take it one day at a time.”
The good news is that Watson doesn’t seem to want to bring any more negative attention towards his team, even though he had publicly asked for a trade in January of this year. Deshaun Watson might not see the field again if any of the 22 civil lawsuits result in a felony conviction, so it’s likely Watson is attempting to just focus on not being seen as an even bigger bad guy.
It appears that Watson is allowed to come and go as he pleases, including training with the team, and he is fine with staying put as the third-string quarterback on the 53-man roster. The Texans might not need Watson at all this season, but there could be more changes incoming depending on how the season unfolds.
If Taylor or second-string QB Davis Mills go down, the Texans might have to make some tough calls, but they’ll likely burn that bridge when they get to it.