• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Deshaun Watson won't face restrictions at start of Texans training camp amid ongoing NFL investigation

·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Deshaun Watson reported to Houston Texans headquarters on Sunday to begin the training camp entry process, and the NFL will not prohibit him from taking part in practices when they kick off Wednesday.

In a statement issued by the NFL on Tuesday afternoon, the league explained that there are no restrictions on Watson’s participation in team activities despite the ongoing investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Watson by more than 20 massage therapists.

The statement read: “The NFL’s review of the serious allegations against Deshaun Watson remains ongoing and active. We are working cooperatively with the Houston Police Department and ensuring that the NFL’s inquiry does not interfere with their investigation.

“As we continue to gather additional information and monitor law enforcement developments, we will make appropriate decisions consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Personal Conduct Policy.

“At this time, there are no restrictions on Watson’s participation in club activities.”

NFL RECORD PROJECTIONS: Can Tom Brady, Buccaneers repeat as Super Bowl champs?

In this Aug. 25, 2018, file photo, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson prepares to take the field prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles.
In this Aug. 25, 2018, file photo, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson prepares to take the field prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles.

According to the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association, commissioner Roger Goodell could place a player on paid administrative leave through the Commissioner Exempt List if the player is formally charged with a felony offense, accused of having used physical force or a weapon to injure or threaten a person or animal, or has engaged in sexual assault by force against a person who was incapable of giving consent. The formal charges may be in the form of an indictment by a grand jury or the filing of charges by a prosecutor or an arraignment in a criminal court.

The commissioner also could use the exempt list when an investigation leads him to believe that a player may have violated the policy by committing any of the above listed acts.

However, the NFL has yet to determine if Watson is guilty of violating the personal conduct policy because the civil suits against him remain ongoing, as does the criminal investigation conducted by the Houston Police Department. No criminal charges have been filed.

According to a person familiar with the situation, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, the NFL still has not been permitted to speak to many of the plaintiffs in the civil cases, or any third parties who could provide further information on the allegations Watson faces.

Law enforcement also has yet to give the NFL access to evidence they have gathered.

And so, Watson remains free to take part in all team activities.

The quarterback and his team find themselves in an awkward position for additional reasons. Watson earlier this season expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision-making of Texans brass. He met with new head coach David Culley and informed him that he has no desire to play for Houston and wants a trade. The Texans didn’t shop Watson this offseason and, although there are reports that the team would now listen to trade offers, it’s believed that the Texans want handsome compensation for the services of the fifth-year pro.

Uncertainty over Watson’s future has made teams hesitant to fork over a bounty to secure the rights to a player who may wind up being unavailable to play.

So, for now, Watson remains a member of the Texans. Despite still wanting a trade, he has reported for duty because holding out would translate into a $50,000 per day fine, according to the CBA.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Deshaun Watson: Texans QB won't face restrictions at start of camp