One day after the NFL’s trade deadline passed and the Miami Dolphins did not acquire Deshaun Watson, the team’s general manager was not happy with reports they attempted to influence the quarterback to settle sexual misconduct cases against him.
Chris Grier met with the media Wednesday and was animated when asked about reports that the team wanted to get the fifth-year veteran to settle 22 pending civil accusations of sexual assault from various massage specialists in the Houston area.
“I think any suggestion that this organization would be dealing behind the scenes and trying to influence decisions is absolutely ridiculous and categorically false,” Grier said. “To say that we’d be involved in that is just flat wrong, it pisses me off, I’m sorry.”
Grier said it was his job to “investigate every avenue and potentially players that may or may not be available” when it came to the quarterback who many felt the Dolphins should have traded for in the offseason.
Watson has not been charged with a crime and has denied all wrongdoing. His request for a trade out of Houston became known around the end of last season, or about two months before the accusers began coming forward with their allegations of his misconduct.
Assuming the cases go forward, Watson is scheduled to be deposed Feb. 22, or about three weeks before the new NFL league year starts — which is the next opportunity for him to be officially traded, though a deal can be agreed to in principle before then.
“I guess, now that the heat is off, I probably won’t be getting calls from the other side wanting to settle the case,” attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents Watson’s accusers, told a Houston television station after the trade deadline passed Tuesday. “Obviously there was some effort, pretty tough effort, to try to settle the case and it didn’t happen.”
Grier was later asked by NBC 6 sports anchor Ruthie Polinsky if Grier or the team had spoken with female employees of the Dolphins about potentially acquiring Watson.
“No, because we never got to a point where anything was going to be realistic in terms of happening,” Grier said. “Of course, if that was happening we would have thought about that and done something.”
A major issue for Buzbee’s clients, he said, was an insistence that they sign non-disclosure agreements as part of settlements.
“That was a deal-breaker,” Buzbee said.
Grier defending the move to keep Tua Tagovailoa as the team’s quarterback.
“We’re very happy with Tua. We think he’s developing well. (Head coach) Brian (Flores) has been very consistent with his message and we have as well.”
Miami hosts Watson’s current team, the Houston Texans, on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.