Well, training camp starts next Tuesday, when players are required to report to the building, with the first practice on Wednesday. Unlike minicamp, the Texans don't have the option of canceling training camp. The show must go on, and if the NFL hasn't placed Watson on the commissioner's exempt list while they investigate his massage session transgressions, then we will reach a fascinating juncture in this saga.
I'll lay out the possible directions this can all go in a moment, but in case you're wondering how Deshaun Watson is doing these days, just know that he's been hanging out in New York City, shaking hands and taking pictures. Courtesy of TMZ, here is a video of Watson just chilling in the Big Apple:
This particular video was shot outside the Four Seasons in New York City, and I'll be damned if Watson doesn't appear to be in really good spirits, just chopping it up with the people! This trip is on the heels of a handful of recent posts to his social media accounts, that contain footage of recent workouts and weddings of family members. In short, Watson is conducting his business like someone who expects to play this coming season.
Now, back to the possibilities for next week — assuming the NFL has not acted on its investigation in any way by either suspending Watson or placing him on the Commissioner's Exempt List (an administrative purgatory where Watson is mandated to stay away from the team, but still gets paid while the league figures out if there will be a punishment), then these appear to be the possibilities:
1. Watson stays home and holds out
Before Watson was sued by 22 plaintiffs for various degrees of misconduct, this was going to be the plan, if the Texans hadn't traded him. Watson would have stayed at home, racked up $50,000 a day in fines, and stayed the hell away from the team. Now that his balance sheet has changed so drastically, with legal fees and potential civil settlements, Watson may want to show up so he can get paid.
2. Watson shows up, and the Texans excuse him from workouts
If Watson does indeed show up, the Texans may not want the daily circus that comes with Watson being around the team. They may also want him to avoid doing anything at a football practice that might injure him before they eventually attempt to trade him, if they still plan on doing so once his legal issues are resolved.
3. Watson shows up, and the Texans have him practice with the team
This is the wildest wild card of all. If Watson wants to avoid fines and the obligation of paying signing bonus money back to the team, then he must show up to the building next week. If the Texans still think there is a chance to reconcile with Watson (assuming they even want to at this point), then they may just tell him to go ahead and suit up for practice.
As someone who is responsible for written and audio content every day, I am praying to all the football gods that it's the third choice that happens. PLEASE.
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