HOUSTON — Star quarterback Deshaun Watson has requested a trade from the Houston Texans, a person familiar with the move told The Associated Press.

The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the request and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity Thursday.

Watson has a no-trade clause in his four-year, $156 million contract, so he could have some control over where he might be dealt.

A source told The Associated Press on Wednesday night that the Texans had hired David Culley as their new coach to replace Bill O’Brien, who was fired after an 0-4 start and replaced by interim head coach Romeo Crennel.

The same source who told The AP about the trade request said Watson made the request before Culley’s hire. He has been unhappy with the direction of the team for some time and Sports Illustrated reported weeks ago that Watson was upset the team didn’t initially request to interview Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for its coaching vacancy.

The Texans eventually interviewed Bieniemy, as well as Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, Buffalo assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, former Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, former Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis and Carolina offensive coordinator Joe Brady before landing on Culley – the only African American among the seven head coaches hired this offseason.


Watson, a three-time Pro Bowler, wasn’t just disgruntled about the way Houston went about its coaching search. He was also upset that owner Cal McNair did not take his opinion into account when hiring General Manager Nick Caserio, according to reports from ESPN and the NFL Network.

The Texans, who had years of woes at quarterback before drafting Watson, don’t want to part with the talented 25-year-old who led the NFL in yards passing this season. But so far they have been unable to change his mind about his desire to leave.

STEELERS: Pittsburgh wants Ben Roethlisberger to return in 2021.

It’s the money, however, that makes it tricky.

Team president Art Rooney II said there is work to be done to lower Roethlisberger’s scheduled $41.2 million salary cap hit for what would be his 18th season in Pittsburgh.

Rooney dismissed the idea of cutting Roethlisberger, which could save $19 million against the cap.


MASK MANDATE: Anyone visiting Tampa’s popular outdoor destinations for the Super Bowl will be required to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor signed an executive order Wednesday saying masks must be worn outside while downtown, in neighborhoods around Raymond James Stadium – where the Super Bowl will be held – and in other tourist hotspots.

The order says those who are not wearing a mask can be cited with a “nominal civil infraction” that carries a penalty up to a $500 fine. It will remain in place until Feb. 13 – nearly a week after the Super Bowl ends.

There are a few exceptions, including children under 5.

The NFL is allowing 22,000 visitors to be inside Raymond James Stadium for the game and all will be required to wear masks. It normally has a capacity of 75,000 fans.

MICHAEL STRAHAN, the Pro Football Hall of Famer and “Good Morning America” host, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-quarantining, according to people familiar with the situation. Strahan is currently not experiencing any severe symptoms. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because of medical restriction issues.

Strahan, who also provides analysis on the “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show, appeared remotely during last Sunday’s NFC championship game. Strahan, though, also did remote appearances during much of the season for the network’s Thursday night games to not conflict with his “GMA” schedule.

The 49-year-old Strahan has been absent from the ABC morning show all week and it remains uncertain when he will be on again.

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