Houston Texans head coach David Culley made a deal with his players, and they came through.
So now, their summer vacation starts earlier and will be extended, and, perhaps one key player can avoid a significant fine.
Culley canceled the team’s mandatory minicamp that had been set to start June 15 after he saw sufficient participation from the team and accomplished what he was looking to get done during the voluntary portion of organized team activities.
“We needed to make sure for at least four weeks during the offseason we had as many players here as possible,” Culley said Wednesday. “This being voluntary, to be able to learn our culture, learn our system, new defense, all of the different players we’ve had.”
That means that disgruntled star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is also facing 22 lawsuits from women who allege that he sexually assaulted or harassed them, will almost certainly have avoided a fine for skipping the minicamp.
Watson has requested a trade, has been away from the Texans organization for several months and has skipped all recent workouts and practices. Watson was also expected to skip next week’s minicamp.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Watson’s absence from the minicamp, which was the only part of Houston’s offseason program that required mandatory attendance, would’ve cost him $93,085 in fines.
The Houston Police Department and the National Football League are actively investigating Watson and depending on their findings, Watson at the very least could be in violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.
The 25-year-old has denied at least part of the accusations and has not been around the team in months.
Despite his playing status being in limbo for the 2021 season, teams are still interested in trade for Watson, who is set to make $10.5 million in base salary as part of a four-year contract extension worth $156 million that was signed last September.
Meanwhile, the Texans are filling out their quarterback room with last season’s leader in passing yards.
The Texans used a third round pick to draft Stanford’s Davis Mills, and signed Tyrod Taylor and backup Jeff Driskel.
“We have nothing more to say,” Culley said recently when asked about Watson. “We’ve talked about the Deshaun situation… (general manager) Nick (Caserio) and I both and with (team owner) Cal (McNair), and nothing’s new on it.”
Contributing: Scooby Axson