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Deshaun Watson is undeniably one of the best NFL quarterbacks. He’s proven it since his arrival with the Houston Texans in 2017, earning three Pro Bowl nominations in four seasons. However, the team’s overall direction, or lack thereof, has forced Watson’s hand and he’s demanded a trade. Brett Favre offered a critique of Watson earlier this week. Former head coach Dick Vermeil has weighed in on the situation a second time. Stephen A. Smith has a message for both critics.

Deshaun Watson seeking trade from Houston Texans

When the Houston Texans shipped Deshaun Watson’s favorite target and one of the NFL’s premier receivers in DeAndre Hopkins off to Arizona last offseason, it was the first domino to tumble. The Texans then proceeded to post a 4-12 record in 2020, head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien was fired mid-season, and the organization appears on the fast track to nowhere in particular.

To Watson’s credit and despite all the adversity, he still managed to lead the NFL in passing with 4,823 yards while throwing for 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He received his third Pro Bowl nomination in his fourth season. 

Following the season, the Texans’ front office didn’t talk with Watson on the team’s hiring for a general manager and reportedly ignored considering his suggested candidates, according to ESPN. As a result, Watson has since requested a trade. 

Dick Vermeil rips Deshaun Watson

Dick Vermeil won a Super Bowl as head coach of the St. Louis Rams in 1999, the crowning achievement of his distinguished career that started in 1969 and included 15 seasons as an NFL head coach. He last coached the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005. Now, 84, Vermeil offered up his thoughts in mid-January on Deshaun Watson and he didn’t hold back.

“I think they change his diapers, OK? Nowhere in his contract does it say that he’s involved in making the decisions of who coaches or who leads the organization,” Vermeil told TMZ. “He’s a great NFL football player and always has been a great kid, but I think he just shuts his mouth and becomes a better football player and lead the football team and let the leaders of the organization lead him.”

This week, during another interview, Vermeil offered up similar thoughts on Watson with a more tempered tone.  

“I’m a little disappointed to be honest with you, because, you know, the image that he has presented coming out of college and through the draft and through his career so far in Houston has been so positive. So positive,” Vermeil said in an interview played on ESPN’s First Take. “I don’t think that this approach really reflects what he has presented over the past few years. So I’m disappointed. I just don’t think that anybody — whether it be that football team or the other 31 football teams — start allowing players to step in and make decisions who runs them, who coaches them and all these kinds of things. If you want to make all the decisions as an owner, then buy your own team.”

Stephen A. Smith calls out Dick Vermeil and Brett Favre

After Dick Vermeil’s comments on Deshaun Watson were played on the show, Stephen A. Smith had a lengthy yet very pointed response. 

“I’m disappointed to hear what Dick Vermeil has to say. I understand where he’s coming from because he’s very very old school. By all accounts, he’s a good man. He’s a champion. He’s somebody that we respected. I know how loved he is in Philadelphia, but that’s a very archaic point of view, and thank God he’s not coaching in the NFL today because with that kind of thinking he would have been fired because nobody would have wanted to play for a man who thinks like that.”

Smith said, like Brett Favre earlier this week, Vermeil’s comments are misguided. He argued they focus solely on Deshaun Watson and completely avoid the reason he is unhappy and why he wants to leave the Texans. Interestingly, Smith brought up how Brett Favre did something similar in his own career. 

“Dick Vermeil is ignoring all of the things that they did to alienate Deshaun Watson. The moves that Bill O’Brien and the Texans made. The fact that they didn’t take him into consideration. It’s about the fact that he’s looking at an organization that appears to be incredibly dysfunctional. So much so that you had coaches out there that didn’t want the job, which is why they had to go and give it to a man who is 65 years of age, black, and oh by the way, was in the league for 27 years and couldn’t get a damn job as a head coach but suddenly he’s your new head coach in Houston.

“Dick Vermeil brings none of that up. He just goes the route of looking at the player and saying, excuse me, you know what, shut up and play. We didn’t hear it when Brett Favre was threatening to retire on numerous occasions and holding the Green Bay Packers hostage. We didn’t hear anything when Carson Wentz essentially did the same damn thing to the Cincinnati Bengals. But Deshaun Watson does it and now all hell is breaking loose and everybody is talking about how he is out of pocket. I wonder why that is. I don’t know. I can guess. But I won’t. I just wish that Dick Vermeil was a bit more expansive with this comments as well as I wish Brett Favre was, too.”

Whether Deshaun Watson leaves the Houston Texans is unclear at this point. One thing that is abundantly clear is if anyone wants to question Watson and his motivations for leaving, Stephen A. will be happy to provide a response.