Deshaun Watson reportedly “just wants out” of Houston four months after signing a contract extension and amid a chaotic few weeks that has executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby at its center, Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop and Jenny Vrentas reported on Saturday.
It is one of a handful of nuggets surrounding a franchise that is facing calls for Easterby’s firing and drew blowback for its hire of New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio as the new general manager.
Watson ‘just wants out,’ per report
There were reports throughout the week that Watson no longer wanted to play for the Texans. He was reportedly unhappy over Caserio’s hiring, that the Texans didn’t interview Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy and the overall current state of the franchise.
Seven-time Pro Bowler Andre Johnson, the only player in the franchise’s ring of honor, supported Watson publicly on Twitter.
If I’m @deshaunwatson I will stand my ground. The Texans organization is known for wasting players careers. Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothing good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can’t seem to see what’s going on. Pathetic!!!
— Andre Johnson (@johnson80) January 12, 2021
When Watson saw it, he laughed. Via SI:
Asked why he might find a tweet that heavy in sentiment funny, one of the people close to Watson says, “He just wants out.”
Watson had a career season squandered by a 4-12 record that franchise star J.J. Watt apologized for after the finale. Watt was caught on “Inside the NFL” cameras telling Watson, “I’m sorry, we wasted one of your years.” Like Watt, many teammates reportedly felt the same way and “support Watson’s doing what’s best for himself moving forward,” per Sports Illustrated.
Watson calls owner’s words ‘patronizing’
Watson was reportedly upset that despite meeting with team owner Cal McNair “several times before the season’s end,” his advice and wants were not taken. Per SI, he was also disappointed because he felt a responsibility to his teammates as the franchise quarterback to represent what they all wanted: more unified leadership and a clearer direction.
He wanted Houston to interview Bienemy, reportedly after hearing directly from MVP Patrick Mahomes about how helpful the coach was in his own career. He learned while on vacation that the team never interviewed Bienemy, a top candidate for a head coaching job this offseason.
Watson was further upset by the press conference that McNair held with Caserio, in which the owner said he had read reports that Watson was unhappy but noted he had met with Watson several times and “understood his point of view before meeting with candidates.” Watson found this response, according to another of the sources close to him, to be “patronizing.”
Easterby holds on to job, attacks Patriots
The Sports Illustrated report focuses largely on how Easterby came into the Texans job and how he’s been able to hold onto his job over a tumultuous past few weeks. The report comes one month after their initial reporting on the chaos in Houston years after the former team chaplain’s rise to power.
Easterby came from the Patriots, where he was a “character coach,” and while coach Bill Belichick likes him he said in November he didn’t expect him to be running a front office.
“Jack’s not a personnel person,” Belichick said. “No.”
After SI’s first report in December, Easterby pushed back and alleged that he planned to sue SI for defamation and therefore had the names of all of the media outlet’s sources inside the building. SI said both of these are untrue.
He also levied accusations at the Patriots and the Kraft family, which owns the team. He said they were the reason for the negative press and incorrectly alleged the family funding the reporting.
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