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Deshaun Watson Practices at Texans Training Camp amid Civil Lawsuits, Trade Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2021

AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson practiced with the team for the first time Wednesday since 22 lawsuits were filed against him by women alleging sexual assault or misconduct.

Cole Thompson @MrColeThompson

Deshaun Watson is here. He is working with the QBs and he is now wearing the No.4 jersey at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Texans?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Texans</a> camp <a href="https://t.co/1a8oDjJA1p">pic.twitter.com/1a8oDjJA1p</a>

Seth C. Payne @SethCPayne

Deshaun Watson hasn’t taken any snaps with the full offense, but he is engaged and active with his teammates on the sideline. Nothing unusual about his demeanor so far that I can see. <a href="https://t.co/jGukHygxIj">pic.twitter.com/jGukHygxIj</a>

General manager Nick Caserio addressed the situation with reporters. 

"Ultimately, we're going to do what we feel is best for the Houston Texans," he said. "...There's been a lot of speculation about what the Texans will do. I mean, quite frankly, a lot of speculation. I'm not going to comment on a lot of rumors."

Caserio added he doesn't think it has been a distraction for the rest of the team.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported in January that Watson had requested a trade from the Texans, which preceded the allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. 

Rusty Hardin, Watson's attorney, confirmed to ESPN's John Barr that 10 women have filed formal complaints against the three-time Pro Bowler with Houston police. Two of the women have yet to lodge a civil suit in connection to the matter.

Tony Buzbee, who is representing the 22 women suing Watson, said in June that "there will not be a settlement, at least anytime soon."

The 22 women who filed lawsuits against Watson have accused him of sexually assaulting them or being sexually inappropriate during massage sessions. Hardin has stated that any sexual activity that took place during Watson's massage treatments was consensual.

That's all leaving Watson's status for the 2021 season unclear. The NFL could suspend him or place him on the commissioner's exempt list, the second of which would allow him to continue getting paid but still leave him unable to practice or play in games.

Schefter reported in May some around the league don't think Watson will play at all in the year ahead:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

"There are people in league circles who believe Deshaun Watson will not play this season. There are people who believe his career in Houston is over."<a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AdamSchefter</a> gives an update on the Texans' QB situation, including the status of Deshaun Watson. <a href="https://t.co/vWtQznr01H">pic.twitter.com/vWtQznr01H</a>

Despite the uncertain nature of Watson's on-field availability, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Houston was willing to listen to trade offers for its quarterback. According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the Texans are setting the price tag at "some combination of 5 high draft picks and starting-caliber players."

The team signed Tyrod Taylor, who has started 47 games at quarterback in a 10-year NFL career, to a one-year, $5.5 million contract this offseason and also selected Stanford signal-caller Davis Mills in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft.

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