• Brian L. Barefield

The Future: Texans extend contract of Deshaun Watson.

Photo Credit/Houston Texans

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson isn’t one to show too many emotions off the field in public. He is a hardworking individual who lets his electrifying play on the field do all of his talking for him. Once he takes his helmet off, no matter the magnitude of the game he just highly performed in, he keeps the same business-like attitude.

All that changed on Saturday when the Houston Texans awarded him a new four-year contract worth $156 million that secures him through the 2025 season. The new extension makes him the second-highest paid player in NFL history behind his in-conference quarterback rival and Week 1 opponent Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I'm lost for words, honestly,” Watson said in his press conference on getting the deal done. “Been crying a little bit, a lot of bit, really. It's just an amazing moment for me to be able to extend my career in a location, in a place, in a home, I would say, that my family loves, that I love. I want to continue to dive into the community most of all and just continue to build my legacy, just build our legacy as a whole and do something that we've never been done before.”

Watson, 24, was selected by the Houston Texans with the 12th pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft after his stellar performance in the National Championship game against Alabama where he led his team to victory while being named the Offensive MVP of the game.

His impact was immediately felt on the field during the first seven games of his rookie season as he set the NFL record for most passing touchdowns (19) in a player’s first seven career games before his season was cut short due to a torn ACL on a non-contact play in practice. The following two seasons (2018-19) he took his game up a level becoming the only player in NFL history to record consecutive seasons with at least 25 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns.

Photo Credit/ Houston Texans

On Saturday, Watson was surprised by the Texans organization as former high school and college coaches joined in his press conference via Zoom. As the emotions flowed, he was joined by another professional athlete that shares the same, “Leave it all on the field” attitude in Houston Astros ace, Justin Verlander. The two exchanged pleasantries before the future first ballot Hall of Fame pitcher expressed how much he enjoys seeing Watson perform on Sunday’s.

“Being able to go to these games the last couple years and sit in the stadium and see how much Houston loves you and how much you love them back and how much you've become part of this city, to see you be able to sign this extension, man, it's pretty special,” said Verlander. “I haven't been here for long, but I feel like this city, I can tell the vibe that they have for you and how much they love you.”

Watson grew up in Gainesville, Georgia where he overcame a lot of obstacles in his childhood including financial hardships and his mother being diagnosed with tongue cancer while he was in high school. It was through the help of family members that he was able to preserve on and off the field to become one of the rising elite NFL quarterbacks in the game today. That’s why the tears began to flow down his face when his family appeared on the screen in front of him in the press conference room at NRG stadium.

“All that grinding, glad it paid off,” said one of Watson’s family members.

His aunt spoke on behalf of the rest of the family including his mother.

“Congratulations, Deshaun,” she said. “I love you, and Aunty just got to say something on behalf of your mama and this whole family, your mama is so proud of you and for what you have become. We know God is going to keep doing great things in your life…We just want you to know we love you very much.”

Watson responded without hesitation. “You know I love y'all, too. Thank you. I appreciate everything. I can't wait to see y'all.”

The Texans superstar quarterback wasn’t the only one full of excitement on Saturday. His head coach and general manager Bill O’ Brien was elated to get this deal done to solidify the quarterback position for many years and to award a young man he has seen put in the work from the first day he arrived at NRG stadium.

“Obviously, this is a very special night for the Houston Texans,” said O’Brien. “To be able to have a quarterback and a person of the caliber of Deshaun Watson under contract for multiple, multiple years is just great. He's just a tremendously hardworking young man, a very bright guy. He's a winner and he's a winner at the most important position in football.”

Most people who has been around Watson knows that his humble spirit radiates onto others, that’s why it was no surprise that the highest paid player in Texans history remained that way throughout his press conference. But on the field, he is as fierce as they come and does everything, he can to stay on that field to fight and win games with his teammates.

“They have to really keep me off the field,” Watson said. “I mean, kicked in the eye, eyeball coming out, whatever it takes, I'm on that field. Until that doctor is forcing me and holding me down, I'm on the field trying to win. I'm trying to win at everything -- just at life in general. Never trying to compare myself to other people. I'm focusing on my situation, Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans, and that's what I'm focused on and locked in on. So, whatever it takes, I'm doing whatever it takes to get to where we want to get to.”

Photo Credit/ Houston Texans

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