The Deshaun Watson saga is ongoing with no resolution in sight. Not for Watson's trade demand to the Houston Texans or for Watson's many civil suits accusing the quarterback of sexual assault with nearly two dozen women filing over the course of the last few months.
You wouldn't have any idea that's the case if you were watching Texans training camp. Watson showed up to the first day of camp two weeks ago to avoid getting fined and everything appears normal. He is going through drills and chatting with teammates and coaches. He even played defense for a while. Watson was held out of last week's camp when the pads came out due to some tightness in his ankle/calf area, but was out there yet again on Monday. Throwing passes, talking with GM Nick Caesiro, doing all the football stuff despite the whirlwind of controversy surrounding him.
Why are the Texans doing this? They gain nothing by having Watson out there. They risk Watson getting hurt and making an already-bad situation even worse. It certainly is not a great look (to say the least) for the organization to have him participate like nothing is happening after the numerous, horrific accusations levied against him. Not to mention that he doesn't even want to be there!
As it turns out, the Texans reportedly still hope for the possibility of reconciliation, as Charles Robinson over at Yahoo! tweeted today.
Robinson later responded to the adamant claim by longtime Houston beat writer John McClain that the quarterback will never take a snap for the Texans again and explained the organization wants to try an Aaron Rodgers-type turnaround.
We return once again to the question of why. If it were only the trade demand at hand, then it makes plenty of sense. Rodgers' divide with the Packers seemed far too wide to be bridged at many points over the last few months. But a few promises and a contract alteration resulted in a reunion for both sides. Maybe not a happy ending, but it's close enough for Green Bay. The Texans saw that unfold and clearly saw a future in which the same happens for them.
But it's not just the unhappiness with the team, as it was with Rodgers. The legal issues loom larger than anything else. Simply being accused of such actions by over 20 women will be a stain on Watson and whoever employs him for the remainder of his time in the league. Houston has a clear path to rid themselves of any connection to an individual with those accusations with the standing trade demand. It's the smart path from a PR perspective, the right path from a basic decency perspective, and the one path most likely to yield the most optimal results from a football perspective. Yet here we are.
Watson is very good at his job, and that fact alone will outweigh his current off-the-field situation when it comes to any NFL team's calculus. Dark and depressing as that is, it is true. Houston knows that as well as anybody. They know for a fact that other teams have been and will continue to come to the table with trade offers, even if most would prefer to wait to execute any trade until his legal issues are dealt with. Instead of taking advantage of that to wash themselves clean of the situation, they still want to bring him back.
What's the end game here? Hope that Watson will happily captain the worst roster in the NFL and win four games over the season while the main discussion topic will be his sexual assault accusations, regardless of how the situation plays out? It's hard to see how the Texans brass thinks that's better than getting something in return for a player who doesn't want to be with the organization and whose mere presence suggests that organization is willing to overlook reprehensible lawsuits filed against him in exchange for talent.
But apparently, they do.