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Deshaun Watson not indicted

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A grand jury will soon hear evidence in the Deshaun Watson case, but even if the legal system absolves him, he could still face punishment from the NFL.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was not indicted after a grand jury heard the sexual assault accusations made against him by female massage therapists, a major legal victory for him and a major step toward Watson getting traded and back on the field.

“After a Harris County grand jury was presented all the evidence and had the opportunity to hear from all witnesses, grand jurors declined to indict Deshaun Watson. Grand jury proceedings are secret by law, so no information related to their inquiry may be disclosed,” the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

The grand jury’s decision not to indict Watson doesn’t necessarily mean he couldn’t lose civil lawsuits brought by several massage therapists, and doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be suspended by the NFL. But it does mean that the most serious potential problems for Watson appear to be behind him.

“We have been closely monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review of the personal conduct policy,” the NFL said in a statement.

Watson did not play at all last year, as he refused to play for the Texans and wanted to be traded, but teams were hesitant to trade for him when he was in potential legal jeopardy. But now it seems likely that he will be traded, perhaps as soon as the start of the league year on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Watson did not play at all in 2021 but was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when he last did play. In 2020 he led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards and an average of 8.9 yards per pass.