Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio spoke with reporters Friday in his first news conference since quarterback Deshaun Watson has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct in more than 20 lawsuits.
Caserio said the team will "respect the legal process" as it relates to Watson, and their focus remains on the upcoming offseason workout program and the 2021 NFL Draft.
"I would say, I really don't have any comment," Caserio said. "I know Cal [McNair] and ownership put a letter out a few weeks ago relative to the organizational stance, relative to where we are. I don't have anything to add other than its legal process and we respect the legal process and where that is. We're focused on today, we're focused on getting ready for the offseason program and getting ready for the draft, so that's where our focus is."
A new lawsuit filed against Watson on Wednesday brought the total back to 22 total suits alleging sexual assault and harassment. A total of 23 women have filed civil suits alleging sexual assault and misconduct against Watson, with one dropping her suit prior to Wednesday's newest filing.
The Houston Police Department announced in a statement April 2 it had opened an investigation following a complaint being issued against Watson. The NFL is also currently investigating the allegations against Watson.
McNair said the team takes "these allegations very seriously" in a recent email to season ticket holders.
Caserio was asked whether he believes Watson, who has not been suspended nor placed on a Commissioner's Exempt List, will participate in the team's offseason program. Earlier this offseason, Watson requested to be traded from the team.
"This year is no different, it's a voluntary program," Caserio said. "Players have the option to particulate in the program. It's a case by case basis, and each player will make the choice that they feel is best. What we're going to do is, we're going o do what we've done, actually the past couple months. The building has been open, we've had a multitude of players that have been in here, they come in here, they test, they go in the weight room, they work out, they go through their process.
"Whatever players are here that choose to participate, that's their choice. And we're going to create as good of a working environment for the players as possible, so when they come here they feel comfortable and they feel like they're improving as Houston Texans football players. So that's what our focus is going to be on."
Caserio told reporters that the Texans are not going to get into hypotheticals regarding Watson's status in the coming months.
"We're not going to get into a lot of hypotheticals, a lot of speculation," Caserio said. "I'm not really good at that. Maybe someone else is better at that than me. If you want to speculate, probably go buy bitcoin and focus on that. We're going to focus on the things we can control, which is getting ready for the draft and trying to take advantage of the opportunities to continue to add to our team and build our roster. And we'll just take it one day at a time and focus on the things we can control."