Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson inactive for Week 2

The Houston Texans, for the second consecutive week to begin the 2021 NFL season, have listed quarterback Deshaun Watson as inactive (not injury related), ruling him out for action in Week 2.

The move doesn’t come as a surprise, given the complicated circumstances surrounding Watson and his relationship with the team.

Watson demanded a trade at the conclusion of the 2020 season. He is under investigation by Houston police and facing lawsuits over allegations of sexual assault and misconduct from more than 20 women.

On Sunday, ESPN reported that Houston’s asking price for a Watson trade would include a minimum of six combined players and picks, a very steep request.

Teams interested in trading for Watson are requesting contingencies on compensation for protection because of his legal trouble, per that same report.

Watson, 26, is a three-time Pro Bowler.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans GM: Deshaun Watson likely inactive for Week 1

Deshaun Watson will be paid $620,000 for his efforts Week 1, when the Houston Texans’ franchise quarterback is unlikely to play or even put on a uniform for the season opener against Jacksonville.

Watson would be a gameday inactive behind rookie backup Davis Mills and starter Tyrod Taylor under the plan general manager Nick Caserio described in a radio interview Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t expect him to play,” Caserio told Sports Radio 610 in Houston on Wednesday. “I wouldn’t anticipate him playing this Sunday and we’ll recalibrate as we go.”

Watson, whose base salary this season is $10.54 million, hasn’t budged in his standoff with the team that began during the offseason coaching search that turned up first-time head coach David Culley. Culley, a longtime assistant with the Baltimore Ravens, was not the first choice for Watson, who felt he should’ve been consulted and wanted Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to get stronger consideration from Caserio.

Watson, who turns 26 next week, demanded a trade. Then, allegations of sexual assault and misconduct came to light from more than 20 women Watson met through massage sessions. An investigation into those allegations remains active.

All the while, Watson has barely worked with teammates in on-field practices and scrimmages. He primarily stands in a stationary position on the scout team defense during the portions of practice open to media.

Taylor, named the starting quarterback this week, credited Watson for helping him get comfortable in the new offensive system. Taylor said Watson hasn’t been a distraction.

Taylor lost his starting job with the Los Angeles Chargers last season after a mishap with a pain-killing injection from a team doctor punctured his lung. Justin Herbert, a rookie first-round pick in 2020, excelled and was never displaced.

–Field Level Media

Aug 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) reacts after a play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans name Tyrod Taylor starting QB

The Houston Texans on Monday made it official: Tyrod Taylor is their starting quarterback.

The announcement by head coach David Culley was expected and confirms that star Deshaun Watson, embroiled in legal problems, will sit on the roster but not play.

The Texans open at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Culley also said Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil practiced all last week, expressing hope that his conditioning will be on par to play this week. Tunsil was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list in mid-August.

Taylor, 32, has started 47 games in his career and made the Pro Bowl with the Buffalo Bills in 2015. He has completed 61.4 percent of his passes and thrown for 9,770 yards, with 54 touchdowns against 20 interceptions for his career. He’s 24-21-1 as a starter for his career.

He spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Watson is listed as third on the depth chart behind Taylor and rookie Davis Mills.

Watson signed a four-year, $160 million contract last year but requested a trade over the offseason after watching the franchise part with several star players. He also reportedly was upset at not being consulted during the team’s search for a new head coach following the departure of Bill O’Brien.

Watson also stands accused of sexual assault by 22 women who have filed lawsuits, and he is reportedly the target of a grand jury investigation.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rolls out of the pocket against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Amid Deshaun Watson rumors, Dolphins target ‘high character’

The Miami Dolphins on Monday did little to douse the rumors of talks about acquiring estranged Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, saying only they target players with “high character.”

Watson stands accused of sexual assault by 22 women who have filed lawsuits against the megastar, and he is reportedly the target of a grand jury investigation.

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was asked specifically about Watson on Monday amid swirling speculation that his team is in play.

“There are a lot of things we weigh when we’re making decisions — fit on the team, overall talent, salary cap,” Flores said. “When we’re talking about a player or players, we’re always trying to do what is best for the Miami Dolphins. There are a lot of variables. We want a group that is tough, smart, competitive, loves to play and is team-first. Those are the types of guys we’re looking for.

“We have a high standard for the people we have in the organization. We want people with high character throughout the building.”

The Texans have remained steadfast that they have no intention of trading Watson, who publicly asked for one before the accusations surfaced.

However, the Texans risk paying Watson $10.54 million this season to not play. They’re reportedly asking for three first-round picks and two second-round picks for Watson, their three-time Pro Bowl selection.

Field Level Media NFL columnist Aaron Wilson reported Monday that the Texans plan to make Watson a game-day inactive this season if he’s not traded.

Watson threw for 4,823 yards last season, with 33 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson (4) during AFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

FBI interviewed Deshaun Watson, but lawyers disagree about why

The attorney for Deshaun Watson revealed the embattled Houston Texans quarterback talked to FBI agents who were seeking information about a potential extortion plot against him.

In a news conference Wednesday, noted Houston attorney Rusty Hardin said the FBI was investigating whether one of the 22 women who filed civil lawsuits against Watson attempted to extort money. The women have accused Watson of sexual misconduct during massage sessions.

Hardin’s assertion came after Tony Buzbee, the attorney for the women, said in a recent interview that the FBI was looking into Watson because of the interstate nature of the case, with some of the women located outside of Texas.

“Let’s be clear, when somebody comes into your office on the 73rd floor of the Chase Tower, whether they’re the FDA or the FBI, it’s a big deal,” Buzbee told the website LeagueofJustice.com in an interview posted Tuesday. “Well, it was the FBI. … They contacted me and I’ve met with them three times now and now they’ve met with several of the plaintiffs in the case.”

Hardin said he sees the FBI’s involvement differently.

“I remain convinced that Deshaun Watson did nothing illegal or improper and I’m confident all investigations will show that,” Hardin said during the news conference.

“They came to us and told us they were investigating a matter as to whether one of Mr. Buzbee’s clients had committed extortion in the way they were demanding money from Deshaun or what they would do if he didn’t pay them,” Hardin said. “We talked to them. We were not the ones who contacted them. They contacted us. We even let them interview Deshaun. If you can find a lawyer who would let the FBI talk to his client if the lawyer thought his client had done anything wrong or had any exposure, then I’ll be very, very surprised. We kept that confidential.”

Watson met with the FBI in April, Hardin said.

The NFL is investigating Watson to determine whether he’s done anything to violate the league’s personal-conduct policy, and a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, reportedly will be empaneled to determine whether Watson should face any criminal charges.

Watson, who turns 26 next month, is in training camp with the Texans but isn’t being counted on to be their Week 1 quarterback, apparently. The Texans’ three-time Pro Bowl selection isn’t practicing with the team but isn’t injured, head coach David Culley said this week.

Despite signing a four-year, $156 million contract extension with the Texans that’s set to take effect before the 2022 season, Watson has requested a trade.

The Texans will host the Jacksonville Jaguars, an AFC South rival, to open the season Sept. 12. Veteran Tyrod Taylor has been taking the snaps with the first team in training camp.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans: Deshaun Watson not injured, ‘doing fine’

Embattled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is not practicing but head coach David Culley said Tuesday that he’s not injured.

“Deshaun is here,” Culley said. “Again, every day he’s here, he comes in, and he works. He does what we ask him to do and he’s here every day and he’s doing fine.”

Watson did not practice Monday or Tuesday.

He did not travel with the team to Green Bay for the Texans’ first preseason game and he’s not expected to travel to Dallas on Saturday either.

A report over the weekend said that subpoenas are being issued ahead of empaneling a grand jury to hear evidence in criminal complaints against Watson.

Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Houston police have been investigating. Per the weekend report, the Harris County District Attorney’s office is issuing the subpoenas, seeking the testimony of a “small handful” of women.

Watson, who turns 26 next month, has denied any wrongdoing.

Once the grand jury is empaneled, the members will hear evidence against Watson, then potentially vote to indict him, allowing prosecutors to file criminal charges.

In grand jury proceedings, no defense is presented. No timeline has been provided as to when the proceedings could begin.

–Field Level Media

Sep 20, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before a game against the Baltimore Ravens at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Grand jury investigation upcoming in Deshaun Watson case

Prosecutors in Harris County, Texas, intend to gather evidence to present to a grand jury that could lead to criminal charges against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, Fox 26 in Houston reported.

The television station and other media outlets reported the district attorney’s office is issuing subpoenas in the case. Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions.

Houston police have received criminal complaints and are investigating. The NFL has a separate investigation ongoing to determine whether Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy.

Per a Yahoo Sports report, the adult sex crimes and trafficking division of the Harris County District Attorney’s office is issuing the subpoenas, seeking the testimony of a “small handful” of women.

The allegations against Watson range from inappropriate conduct to sexual assault during the course of the massages. Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in April there “sometimes consensual encounters” between the quarterback and the massage therapists.

Watson, who turns 26 next month, has denied any wrongdoing.

Once the grand jury is empaneled, the members will hear evidence against Watson, then potentially vote to indict him, allowing prosecutors to file criminal charges.

In grand jury proceedings, no defense is presented. No timeline has been provided as to when the proceedings could begin.

Pending the outcome of the NFL investigation, Watson could wind up on the commissioner’s exempt list. If that were to happen, he would be paid as if he were on the roster but would not be allowed to practice or attend games. He could take part in meetings, work out or receive treatment.

Before the first lawsuit was filed against Watson in late March, he had requested to be traded. He is in training camp, reportedly only to avoid being fined. He has fallen to fourth on the QB depth chart given his uncertain status.

Last September, the Texans signed Watson to a four-year contract extension worth $160 million due to kick in before the 2022 season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rolls out of the pocket against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL investigators ‘patronizing’ to Deshaun Watson accusers

Two of Deshaun Watson’s accusers told Sports Illustrated that NFL investigators followed a demeaning line of questioning regarding acts of sexual misconduct allegedly committed by the Houston Texans quarterback.

In a story published Friday, Sports Illustrated revealed what two women, who were among the 22 who have civil lawsuits pending against Watson, thought of the interview process conducted by the NFL. And they weren’t complimentary.

“This woman asked me what I was wearing, which honestly really pissed me off,” said Ashley Solis, who was the first woman to publicly accuse Watson of sexual misconduct during a massage session. “She explained that that’s something that she has to ask — which I don’t believe at all.”

The interviews were conducted by Lisa Friel and Jennifer Gaffney, former prosecutors who are running the league investigation. Another Watson accuser, Lauren Baxley, backed up Solis’ statements in a separate interview.

Baxley said she, too, was asked what she wore during a massage appointment with Watson in June 2020, and she said the investigators were “patronizing” and “victim-blaming.” She also asked why she just didn’t end the session when she felt Watson was out of line.

By contrast, she said, her interview with the Houston Police Department was professional. Houston police are conducting a separate investigation that could lead to criminal charges. Baxley has sued Watson and also filed a complaint with Houston police.

“They (Houston police) let me speak uninterrupted, whereas with Lisa Friel and the (other NFL investigator), they would cut me off, they would question things, they would circle back,” Baxley said, adding she thinks the NFL investigators were “trying to trip me up. They didn’t, but they were really looking for the weaknesses that they thought they could exploit.”

The interviewers are charged with collecting evidence that will help the league determine whether Watson violated the league’s personal conduct rules, which could lead to suspension. Commissioner Roger Goodell can place any player on the exempt list if he finds a violation could have occurred.

A player on the commissioner’s exempt list receives full pay but doesn’t account against the team’s 53-man roster. Those on the list cannot practice or attend games but can work out, receive treatment or attend meetings at the team facility.

So far, 10 women have been interviewed by the NFL, according to the Sports Illustrated report.

The publication said the women consented to an interview because they are disturbed that Watson is still on the Texans’ active roster.

But in training camp, Watson has been anything but active. He has been demoted to fourth-string quarterback and has been working off the side with a trainer as he copes with a calf injury. Veteran Tyrod Taylor is taking first-team reps.

Watson, who turns 26 next month, largely was an observer for the first two weeks of training camp and isn’t expected to accompany the team to Green Bay for Saturday’s preseason opener against the Packers. He has requested a trade, but he signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension that is scheduled to kick in with the 2022 season.

Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents all 22 women, said that after his first three clients were interviewed, he was present and that subsequent interviews had a changed tone.

The NFL told ESPN on Friday that the review of the “serious allegations” against Watson is ongoing.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans QB Deshaun Watson snaps at media

In the throes of his training camp of discontent, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson snapped at the camera crews that filmed players walking on the practice field Thursday morning in Houston.

“Why are you all always filming me every day? It’s the same s–,” he said.

The eyes have been on Watson during camp, despite the three-time Pro Bowl selection’s fall to fourth-string quarterback on the depth chart.

According to multiple reports Wednesday, the Texans, under first-year head coach David Culley, requested to end training camp early but were rebuffed by the NFL. League rules require training camp practices to be open to local media until Aug. 26 but can be restricted once the team transitions to “regular season” mode.

Watson, who turns 26 next month, largely was an observer for the first two weeks of training camp and isn’t expected to accompany the team to Green Bay for Saturday’s preseason opener against the Packers. Culley said he was dealing with a calf issue, and a trainer gave attention to both of Watson’s legs in the medical tent before he took the field Wednesday.

Prior to Culley being hired as head coach, Watson requested a trade. He also is facing civil suits from 22 women accusing him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions.

Watson’s four-year, $156 million contract extension is scheduled to kick in with the 2022 season.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson back at practice for Texans

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was back at practice Monday for the first time in a week.

Watson missed five practices as he received treatment for ankle and calf injuries, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.

He returned amid swirling trade rumors and ongoing sexual misconduct investigations by law enforcement and the NFL.

Watson was photographed speaking with Texans general manager Nick Caserio just ahead of practice. Houston coach David Culley would only say “nothing has changed” about Watson’s participation in practice.

The quarterback, who is entering his fifth season, was in pads and threw some to wide receivers before exiting the field for the team bubble, per reports.

Watson, who turns 26 next month, reported to training camp on time to avoid $50,000 daily fines. He is facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and/or sexual misconduct, a Houston Police Department active investigation of 10 complaints and a parallel NFL personal conduct investigation.

Watson signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension last year but frustration from a losing 2020 season, the trade of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and not being involved in discussions surrounding the team’s decisions on a new head coach reportedly sparked Watson’s request to be traded.

–Field Level Media