Unfortunately for Deshaun Watson, this isn’t exactly uncharted territory. And his college coach can again sympathize as well.
Thursday, it was confirmed that Watson, the Houston Texans rookie quarterback who had taken the NFL by storm over the past few weeks, suffered a torn ACL during a non-contact drill in practice earlier in the day. This is the second time in three years Watson has suffered such an injury, with the first coming as a true freshman at Clemson in 2014.
Watson returned to the playing field for the Tigers for the 2015 season, ultimately playing a significant role in a pair of College Football Playoff title game appearances and one national championship. His head coach for that run, Dabo Swinney, was of course asked about the development, reacting to the latest health setback for his former star quarterback and how it’s eerily similar to 2014.
Below are Swinney’s quotes on Watson, as distributed by the team:
I talked to Deshaun late this afternoon and we are disappointed. But, he is a person who has had some setbacks in his life, and always comes back stronger. Since he went through the rehab before, he knows what it takes.
“At least this happened in the middle of the season and he has had the opportunity to show what he can do. I see today he was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October. It would have been so much worse if it happened in training camp.
“This is so similar to the 2014 season, his freshman year at Clemson. In his first career start against North Carolina, he threw a school record six touchdown passes, then he had four more (two rushing and two passing) the next week against NC State. Then he suffered an injury during the Georgia Tech game.
“Now he leads the NFL in touchdown passes and this happens.
“All he did after the injury in 2014 was come back and lead us to the National Championship game twice and of course we won it last year. He started all 30 games the last two years here.
“I have not doubt he will come back from this. He has the resolve. His work ethic and drive are incredible.