INDIANAPOLIS (92.3 The Fan) – In the viral world of social media and the internet, context simply doesn’t apply.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson found that out the hard way when a video of him at the Davy O’Brien award banquet surfaced last month showing him playfully begging Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who was also in attendance, to trade up to No. 1 with the Browns to pick him.
Fans in Cleveland immediately became enraged at the perceived snub and Friday at the NFL Combine Watson set the record straight once and for all starting with what his reaction would be if the Browns were to draft him.
“I’d really be excited to go up there and play for those guys and Hue Jackson,” Watson said. “It wasn’t a diss or anything like that.”
He immediately explained the genesis of the video.
“It was a joke that me and Jason Garrett had last year because I won the Davey O’Brien the year before, too, and Davey O’Brien [staffers] are huge Cowboy fans and they wanted me to joke around and have the crowd excited and get laughs,” Watson said. “So the base behind the story was, at the time, the Cowboys were looking for a quarterback and Tony Romo was hurt and I told them, hey, if I was able to come back, the Davey O’Brien award next year, I promise you that I’ll be back and if I do, then you have to draft me, and that was the joke.
“We laughed, had a good time, so what the Davey O’Brien people wanted me to do was bring that back up and say, hey, I kept my promise and now you’ve got to keep yours and draft me. It was just an insider joke and then someone filmed it and put it on social media and made it bigger than what it was.
“It wasn’t no diss to any team or any franchise. I’d be happy to go anywhere and I’m just blessed with this opportunity.”
Earlier this week Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson both blew off Watson’s perceived shot at the Browns, who hold the first and 12th overall picks in April.
Friday night Watson will get to sit face-to-face with them during a formal interview session where he will try to sell them on why he is the player who can put a stop to the team’s merry-go-round of quarterbacks.
Watson skipped an opportunity to audition with Jackson and the Browns staff at the Senior Bowl but he explained to Jackson before the game why he wouldn’t participate.
“We had a great conversation,” Watson said. “He knew where I was coming from and there wasn’t no hard feelings and we’re all on the same page.”
As he goes through the pre-draft process, Watson is realistic about the state of the team that could pick him, including the Browns.
How does he plan to help fix a broken team? Win.
“You just gotta be patient with it and take time,” Watson said. “Winning at the NFL level is not easy. It’s tough. Each and every week is a tough week. You gotta be able to be on the same page with guys and pull it out. So, just being able to have that experience of winning, maybe it can spread throughout a team and franchise and spread throughout the players.
“And maybe turn a franchise around.”