Ten different women have filed complaints with Houston police alleging misconduct by Deshaun Watson, the Texans quarterback's agent, Rusty Hardin, told ESPN this week. Eight of the 10 accusers are among 22 who have filed civil lawsuits against Watson, alleging sexual assault or misconduct stemming from private therapy sessions. Even so, Hardin tells ESPN that "teams are ready to jump" at the chance to trade for Watson, who is reportedly still seeking an exit from Houston after reporting to training camp.
"Teams are ready to jump now if the Texans would trade with them, even while all this is pending," Hardin said, per ESPN's John Barr. "There's no question that teams, numerous teams, are still interested. The ball is in the Texans' court."
Tony Buzbee, representing Watson's accusers, took a different stance, Barr reports: "As far as Watson's football career," Buzbee said, "I'm not focused on whether Watson will play; I'm instead focused on the welfare of the women he had contact with and aggressively pursuing their cases in court."
Hardin, meanwhile, acknowledged knowing the names of the 10 women who have filed criminal complaints with Houston police, according to Barr, but has not disclosed them publicly. Houston police would not comment this week when asked by ESPN about their investigation of the criminal complaints.
Watson's camp, Hardin told ESPN, is "fully cooperating with the police" as well as the district attorney's office amid the complaints. Watson also intends to "fully cooperate with the NFL" if/when the league interviews the QB for its own investigation. On that front, the league released a statement on Tuesday saying they are in the midst of an "ongoing and active" review of the allegations against Watson.
"The NFL's review of the serious allegations against Deshaun Watson remains ongoing and active," the league said in a statement, via Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. "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."
Pelissero adds that the NFL has not been given access to speak with many of the civil plaintiffs or to third parties who may have relevant information. The league has also not spoken to Watson yet, which is typically the last step in their process, per Pelissero.
While Watson currently does not have any restrictions, it's possible the NFL could still suspend the former Pro Bowler, even if Watson is not criminally charged for his alleged misconduct under the Personal Conduct Policy. If more information comes to the light, the league could also opt to place Watson on the commissioner's exempt list.