What Could Have Been: Deshaun Watson vs. Trevor Lawrence


It seems like there is a lifetime, when Deshaun Watson was the greatest thing to ever happen to the Houston Texans. The former Clemson Tiger turned NFL pro was the answer to the Houston quarterback’s questions that have been going on for more than 15 years.

Watson was loved by the community, flocking to everyone from the staff at the Texan cafeteria to the kids at the local YMCA and back again. He has been compared to Michael Jordan on the court and portrayed as the big new role model in town.

The future of the Battle Red faithful was bright, sunny, and full of promise.

Jack Easterby joins the Houston Texans

One fateful day at the start of 2019, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is said to have walked into a massage parlor and engaged in illegal prostitution. Rumors have circulated linking Kraft to disgusting belly of NFL sex trafficking, before that’s all mysteriously swept under the carpet.

The fact that the city of Houston is widely regarded as a hub of sex trafficking is heartbreaking in itself. And, host a Super Bowl here did not help this fact.

What does this have to do with the Texans and Watson, you ask?

It was at this point that the former Patriots staff member, a character trainer named Jack Easterby, left the Patriots, would have tried to distance himself of what he would have seen as highly immoral behavior on the part of the Patriots owner.

It’s certainly not hard to blame him. Who wouldn’t quit a job if they believed their boss was aiding in sex trafficking?

Easterby’s ties to Houston head coach Bill O’Brien paid off as the Texans quietly hired Easterby as their new character trainer – after Easterby hired an agent, a move seemingly without previous for a character trainer.

It was well documented how Easterby took this opportunity to find his way into one of the most powerful roles anyone can have in a multi-million dollar operation known as the NFL franchise.

The fallout has also been well documented.

Again, the question arises, what does this have to do with Deshaun Watson?

Once Easterby managed to stage his coup that saw his friend O’Brien dump himself, with no one left between him and struggling Texans CEO Cal McNair, it became the team. Easterby.

And, like clockwork, Deshaun Watson has gone from savior of the Texans to a waking nightmare of the franchise’s quarterback demanding a trade.

Soon after, Watson found himself in the crosshairs of one of Houston’s most notorious lawyers, who lives just a few doors down from Cal McNair, although all links appear to have been swept away. And, the resulting civil lawsuits and criminal charges against Watson are eerily similar to Robert Kraft’s aforementioned allegations.

But unlike Kraft, a multi-billionaire who can shape reality however he wants, Watson’s alleged indiscretions are spread out like dirty laundry for all to see. Yes Watson and Kraft are both guilty, the end result for each man seems to be quite different – even if justice would consider that the two spent a very, very long time in a jail cell. If both are innocent, Kraft has managed to move on, the Teflon suit intact, while Watson might never get over it.

Now we know how we got from there to here.

Watson vs. Lawrence: lightning strikes twice at Clemson University

Founded in 1889, Clemson University has never had a consecutive NFL starting caliber quarterback in its 132 year history.

That is to say until 2014, when Watson took over.

While with the Tigers, Watson broke all significant passing records in school history, throwing 10,163 yards and 90 career touchdowns. And, he led the Tigers to their second national championship, dethroning the seemingly unstoppable Crimson tide in Alabama. Watson is also the first quarterback in FBS history to surpass 37 academic credit hours and throw more than 35 touchdowns in a year. Oh, and he’s been doing it all for giving back to the local community of Clemson, South Carolina.

Trevor Lawrence, who is also does a great job in the community, is No. 2 on Clemson’s all-time best quarterback list. During his years under center tall Dabo Swinney, Lawrence threw for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns. He also won a National Championship for Clemson, their third all-time and second in three seasons.

Now Watson is currently a Houston Texan and Lawrence a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The two heavily besieged teams, struggling to right their respective ships, working with new regimes, battling seemingly endless challenges (many self-inflicted) and striving to hoist another banner as champions of the AFC South.

Both teams have never had a quarterback of the caliber of their current Clemson prodigies. NFL fans have never seen a quarterback fight like Watson against Lawrence. Unfortunately, we’ll all probably have to wait to find out which former national champion can win.

There is still a silver lining that new Texans general manager Nick Caserio and head coach David Culley can convince Watson to start Week 1.

Common sense would say to put Watson in bubble wrap and wait for another team to meet Houston’s trade demands for the 25-year-old top 5 passer. But, in the end, Caserio has said more than once that the ultimate goal is to keep Watson in battle.

With Caserio’s ties to the Kraft family, he surely has some knowledge of the events that led to Robert’s exoneration. And, if they believe Watson is innocent, maybe he could use it to Watson’s advantage. It’s not like the McNair family don’t have deep pockets either, there isn’t a lot of money you can spend on Minecraft, after all. If they don’t believe Watson is innocent, they probably would have dumped him already.

Not having to keep looking for the future quarterback would certainly sort out a lot for the Texans quickly.

And in doing so, the spectacle of Trevor Lawrence battling the player his former coach called football’s Michal Jordan would be a landmark game in NFL history.

The two quarterbacks pitching against less-than-stellar opposing secondaries, potentially putting up well over 1,000 yards and over 10 TDs in a quarterback shootout like nothing AFC South has ever seen.

What a game that could be!

Unfortunately, this is very unlikely to happen. Instead, it will likely be another key heartbreaking moment for Houston sports fans … and another step in the 2021 Houston Texans’ heartbreaking train wreckage.

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