There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding Deshaun Watson's upcoming season, but the Houston Texans quarterback is apparently certain on one thing: he still reportedly wants to be traded to another team.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday that Watson hasn't changed his mind about wanting out of Houston, and he won't be attending the Texans' upcoming OTAs.
#Texans star QB Deshaun Watson won’t attend OTAs and still wants to be traded, per sources.
Watson has denied wrongdoing related to recent lawsuits, which have slowed the process of sorting out his future. But his position hasn’t changed: Watson wants out of Houston.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 24, 2021
Since Watson first reportedly requested a trade in early 2021, 22 women have accused him of varying degrees of sexual misconduct and have filed civil suits against him. The Houston Police Department is continuing to investigate, though no criminal charges have been filed.
Watson has categorically denied any wrongdoing, and last week posted on social media for the first time since mid-March, when he released his one and only statement about the allegations.
Deshaun Watson is working out. He posts on social media (IG story) for the first time since March 16 - the evening he released his statement that he was aware of a lawsuit & he looked forward to clearing his name. #NFL #Texans pic.twitter.com/RmZv2deRHn
— Adam Wexler (@AdamJWexler) May 19, 2021
What comes next for Watson?
What will the NFL do with Watson as we get closer to training camp. The NFL is investigating him. Beyond the allegations detailed in the civil suits, the NFL has spoken with four of Watson's accusers (though their attorney, Tony Buzbee, says the women felt "disrespected" during the interviews). According to Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson, the next logical step is for the NFL to call Watson in for an interview.
From there, commissioner Roger Goodell has a few options. He could put Watson on the commissioner's exempt list pending the outcome of the civil lawsuits. If he does that, Watson would likely not play in 2021, since he's not scheduled to give his first deposition until after the next Super Bowl. Lawyers for both sides have said that there will not be a settlement. Goodell could also decide that he has enough information to issue discipline, which would presumably lead to a multi-game suspension.
It's not known if the Texans are more keen to trade Watson now than they were in early 2021, before 22 women accused him of sexual misconduct. Whether they are or not, Watson's not likely to go anywhere until Goodell makes a decision.
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