Deshaun Watson is unhappy. That much has been established. Disgruntled athletes with an axe to grind are a dime dozen in pro sports, but don’t confuse Watson for a diva. His beef with the Texans, a doomed franchise unraveling before our eyes, is legitimate. Between squandering another year of his athletic prime and trading his go-to receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Watson has every right to be furious with the NFL laughingstock known as the Houston Texans.
When Watson put pen to paper on a four-year extension this summer, the expectation was that Houston, coming off its fourth division title in five years, would be competitive for years to come. Instead, Watson has witnessed an organizational collapse rivaling some of the worst implosions we’ve ever seen. The quarterback’s frustration has been building for quite some time, though it finally boiled to the surface when the Texans hired a new GM, former Patriots front-office fixture Nick Caserio, without consulting him. Watson had also hoped to be involved in the team’s head-coaching search, which to this point hasn’t happened.
With tension rising, many have come to Watson’s defense including former Texan Andre Johnson, who urged the QB to “stand his ground.” Addressing the situation Saturday on NFL Countdown, Randy Moss was similarly supportive of Watson, asserting that the Texans have repeatedly “failed” their ace signal-caller. “I do believe they have failed Deshaun Watson,” said the Hall-of-Fame wide receiver. “[Houston] disrespected Deshaun Watson by not letting him inside the circle.”
The ESPN analyst also had a bone to pick with late Texans owner Bob McNair, who was critical of his players kneeling for the national anthem in 2017. “Deshaun Watson is from the south. We know his background, we know his story,” said Moss. “When you have the late owner say, ‘We can’t have the inmates running the prison.’ How do you feel emotionally as a rookie when your owner is saying that?”
The Texans have put Watson through the ringer, but until recently, he had never said a peep. “How do you feel when your No. 1 receiver is let go? Billy O’Brien, the offensive coordinator that Deshaun Watson loved, he’s gone. [Kenny] Stills is gone. [Will] Fuller is gone. But guess what this man does? He takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” said Moss, commending Watson for his resiliency in the face of an organization that has failed him at each and every turn. “I don’t think it’s about football, guys. I think it’s about the respect and disrespect.”
Who knows if the Texans will be able to talk Watson off the ledge, but if you put stock in recent reports, the 25-year-old is fuming, and understandably so.