Deshaun Watson returned to practice for the first time in a week on Monday, making his first appearance in pads during Texans training camp while speaking with new general manager Nick Caserio. But it's anyone's guess as to what the future holds for the Pro Bowl quarterback, who still faces 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints alleging sexual assault or misconduct. The Houston Chronicle's John McClain said Monday that Watson "will never play another down for the Texans," while Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson reports Houston is still open to -- if not planning for -- Watson returning as the team's starting QB in 2021.
"(The) Texans have not given up on him being their quarterback this year," Robinson wrote Monday. "They're not taking low-ball offers. This is why they aren't being overly communicative with teams. Barring a strong offer, Texans brass will to try to get him back into the fold before the season begins ... The Texans haven't folded up shop on making another run at him. They're going to let it play out with the hold-in, and see if there might be an Aaron Rodgers type of solution to the problem. It may not be likely, but there will be an attempt."
This runs contrary to what the Chronicle reported Monday, when McClain insisted Watson will not return and Brooks Kupena wrote that it's clear both Watson and Houston want to execute a trade prior to the season.
The entire situation, of course, is clouded by Watson's legal situation. The QB remains under investigation by the NFL for his alleged off-field transgressions. Barring a settlement with all of his accusers, Watson cannot be deposed, or asked to provide sworn out-of-court testimony for his case, until after the 2021 season. Even if he does not face criminal charges, he may face a lengthy suspension from either the Texans or NFL. That said, Watson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, has indicated that several teams "are ready" to deal for the former first-round pick, assuming Houston engages trade talks.