When Deshaun Watson made a joke involving the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys last month, he surely didn’t think it would turn into a media frenzy.
But that is liable to happen when you’re a star quarterback that’s about to become the face of a franchise.
Giving a speech after receiving the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s best quarterback in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 20, Watson joked that the Cowboys needed to trade with the Browns up to No. 1 to draft him.
Watson, a candidate to be selected by the Browns with either of their first-round picks in April’s NFL Draft, answered to the joke on Friday and cleared the air about his comments.
“It wasn’t a diss or anything like that,” Watson told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. “If you know the whole story, it was a joke that me and Jason Garrett had last year because I won the Davey O’Brien the year before too.”
Garrett, the Cowboys’ head coach, was in attendance at the banquet as Watson joked that Dallas should trade both Dak Prescott and Tony Romo for the pick to take him, saying the Browns need a couple of quarterbacks.
Watson was clearly kidding, but his quip made national headlines.
“The base behind the story was at the time, the Cowboys were looking for a quarterback,” Watson said. “Tony Romo was hurt, and I told them if I was able to come back to the Davey O’Brien awards next year, I promise you that I’ll be back and if I do, you have to draft me. And that was the joke. We laughed, had a good time, and so what the Davey O’Brien people wanted me to do is bring that back up. … It was an inside joke, and then someone filmed it and put it on social media and made it bigger than what it was.”
“It was no diss to any team or any franchise,” he reiterated. “I’ll be happy to go anywhere, and I’m just blessed with this opportunity.”
NFL Media analysts Bucky Brooks, Daniel Jeremiah, Chad Reuter and Lance Zierlein all project Watson to be drafted at various spots in the range of No. 10 overall to 23rd overall.
Watson said if he ends up in a Browns uniform, he’s perfectly fine with it.
“My reaction would be all excited,” Watson said. “It would be exciting to go up there and play for those guys and Hue Jackson.”