David Culley says he took the Houston Texans' head-coaching job knowing Deshaun Watson was the team's quarterback

BySarah Barshop ESPN logo
Thursday, February 4, 2021

HOUSTON -- A day after it was reported that Deshaun Watson had requested a trade, new Houston Texans head coach David Culley said during his introductory news conference that he took the job knowing Watson was the Texans' quarterback.

"He's the quarterback of the Houston Texans, and that's all that I was concerned about," Culley said, when asked about his knowledge of Watson's status when he was interviewing for the job. "That's all I knew and whatever was being said about what he wanted to do or didn't want to do. All I know is this. ...

"He is a Houston Texan. And I wanted to be a Houston Texan. And the reason I'm in this position today is because I knew he's going to be a Houston Texan. The outside stuff that was being said is irrelevant to me."

Watson, who signed a four-year, $156 million extension in September, is under contract through the 2025 season. He has a no-trade clause, but given the length of his contract and the possibility of franchise-tagging him for three years, the Texans could choose not to trade him and would have control of his rights through the 2028 season.

Watson's trade request came after he was reportedly unhappy with the process used by the team to hire general manager Nick Caserio in early January.

"Organizationally, just want to reiterate our commitment to Deshaun Watson," Caserio said. "He's had a great impact on this organization, a great impact on a lot of people, a great impact on this team, and we look forward for the opportunity to spend more time with him here this spring, once we get started.

"And we have zero interest in trading the player. We have a great plan, a great vision for him and for this team, and his role on this team, and we look forward to the opportunity to spend more time with him here this spring."

If the Texans choose not to trade Watson, he could opt not to report to mandatory team activities or training camp, but at a cost. Houston can fine Watson $95,877 for missing minicamp and can fine him $50,000 per day for each day of training camp missed plus one week's salary -- $620,000 -- for each preseason game missed. In the unlikely scenario that Watson chooses to retire, the Texans can collect $21.6 million.

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