Rusty Hardin, the attorney representing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in the 22 civil lawsuits alleging acts of sexual assault and misconduct, said Thursday via a statement that the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in those cases, Tony Buzbee, had previously reached out regarding potential settlements.
Buzbee strongly denied this claim and instead said Hardin had approached his camp, but ESPN's Sarah Barshop now reports the Worldwide Leader has reviewed text messages and a recording that show somebody associated with Buzbee's side contacted Hardin's team "to discuss 'working things out" between the star signal-caller and the reported victims.
Buzbee did not respond to ESPN's request for comment as of early Friday evening.
Barshop added that NFL special counsel for investigations Lisa Friel has not yet interviewed Watson regarding the allegations. Buzbee told Mark Berman of Houston's Fox 26 earlier this week that four of his clients had met with the NFL and also that some of the women "did not feel like they were being respected" during those conversations.
Hardin released a statement in April that made it clear he and Watson are saying "all 22 plaintiffs are lying about the allegations of sexual misconduct."
Watson has denied all wrongdoing, but his status for the 2021 NFL season remains in question amid the ongoing lawsuits and league investigation. The Houston Police Department has also reportedly spoken with multiple women but hasn't yet filed criminal charges.