Between 2017 and 2020, Deshaun Watson was one of the best quarterbacks in the league and even led his team to back-to-back double-digit wins in 2018 and 2019. Unfortunately, he has found himself in hot water after 24 women filed lawsuits against the QB, citing sexual abuse.
Watson booked massage appointments with each of the women and while that’s nothing new for a pro quarterback, his sexual misconduct wasn’t – allegedly forcing or pressuring them into sexual acts. The first lawsuit came on Match 16, 2021, but lawsuits are being filed to this day.
In fact, we learned of two new lawsuits this week and also learned that the Houston Texans, Watson’s former team, are being added as defendants in the lawsuit. The situation continues to grow worse for Deshaun Watson as we await a possible suspension and/or court decision.
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Deshaun Watson Isn’t the Only Athlete With Baggage
Despite the hot water Deshaun Watson has found himself in these past 12 months, the quarterback has a new home in the Cleveland Browns. He also signed a new five-year, $230 million contract with the team, meaning he’s only getting richer throughout this process.
There’s no doubt Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league when on the field. He has a 28-25 record and has thrown for 14,539 yards, 104 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions – adding 1,677 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. He also made three Pro Bowl appearances.
Unfortunately, his new baggage has damaged his reputation and we’re unsure if he’ll ever regain it – even if he doesn’t face any punishment for his actions. What we do know is that Deshaun Watson isn’t the first athlete to find themself in hot water – let’s take a look at some of the others!
15. Rae Carruth
Rae Carruth is a former NFL wide receiver that was drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the 27th overall pick in 1997. He spent three seasons with the team and recorded 62 receptions, 804 yards, and four touchdowns in 22 games. That’s when his career came to a sudden halt.
In 1999, Cherica Adams, Carruth’s pregnant girlfriend, was shot four times in her car. Carruth wasn’t the one behind the gun, but he orchestrated it because Adams wouldn’t have an abortion. Adams died one month later and the baby was born with permanent damage and cerebral palsy.
14. Pete Rose
Pete Rose is a former MLB player that made his debut on April 8, 1963 and played his final game on August 17, 1986. He spent 24 seasons in the league and finished his career with a .303 batting average, 4,256 hits (most all-time), 160 home runs, 1,314 RBIs, and 2,164 runs.
In 1989, Rose was managing the Cincinnati Reds when reports alleged he bet on baseball games during the 1987 and 1988 seasons. After an investigation, he was added to the MLB’s permanent ineligibility list. To make matters worse, he pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 1990.
13. Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds is a former MLB player that made his debut on May 30, 1986 and played his final game on September 26, 2007. He spent 22 years in the league and holds the all-time record for home runs, walks, and intentional walks. He hit 762 career home runs and 1,996 runs batted in.
Since 2003, Bonds’ legacy has been damaged by steroid use allegations. He was indicted in 2007 for obstruction of justice and perjury after lying to a grand jury about his steroid use. He avoided any prison or jail time after the charges were overturned and dropped by 2015.
12. Kellen Winslow II
Kellen Winslow II is a former NFL tight end that was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the sixth overall draft pick in 2004. He played nine seasons with four teams, recording 469 catches, 5,236 yards, and 25 touchdowns in 105 games. He surpassed 1,100 yards once in 2007.
In 2019, Winslow was convicted on several counts of rape, assault, and other sexual offenses with five different women. He preyed on vulnerable women, even assaulting a homeless woman in 2018. In 2021, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison and is now labeled a sexual predator.
11. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is an active professional golfer that’s widely considered one of the greatest golfers of all-time. He turned pro in 1996 and continues to play to this day, despite several injuries. He has 110 career wins, including 82 on the PGA Tour and 15 major championships to his name.
In 2009, multiple reports surfaced that accused Woods of infidelity as more than a dozen women came forward. Woods’ reputation took a major hit, he and his wife divorced, and he even took an indefinite break from golf. He was also arrested for driving under the influence in 2017.
10. Tonya Harding
Tonya Harding is a former professional figure skater that represented the United States between 1985 and 1994. She won gold medals in the U.S. Championships in 1991, Skate America (twice), Nations Cup, and Prize of Moscow News. She was supposed to be great.
Harding’s legacy took a hit in 1994 when her ex-husband struck Nancy Kerrigan (her rival) in the knee a day before the U.S. Championships. Kerrigan was unable to compete and Harding won the gold medal – though it was later stripped from her. She didn’t do it, but it still hurt her legacy.
9. Michael Vick
Michael Vick is a former NFL quarterback that was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the first overall draft pick in 2001. He played 13 seasons and had a 61-51-1 record, 22,464 yards, 133 touchdowns, and 88 interceptions. He also had 6,109 yards and 36 touchdowns on the ground.
In 2007, after his sixth season in the league, Vick was found guilty of dogfighting and served 21 months in a federal prison. He was immediately released by the Falcons, but eventually resurrected his career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. His reputation remains damaged.
8. Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius is a former professional sprinter from South Africa that is one of the few athletes to compete in both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. He has been a double amputee since he was 11 years old, defying any and all odds as he ran his way to greatness.
Unfortunately, his career came to a screeching halt in 2013 when he shot and killed his girlfriend. According to Pistorius, he had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder – something that was untrue. While it was originally ruled a culpable homicide, it was eventually changed to murder.
7. Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong is a former professional road racing cyclist that’s best known for winning the Tour de France a consecutive seven times between 1999 and 2005. He was a sports icon and one of the most recognizable names in all of sports at his peak, but that didn’t last forever.
In 1999, reports surfaced that alleged Armstrong of doping after he won his first Tour de France. While he denied the allegations, the United States Anti-Doping Agency later confirmed he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his illustrious career, effectively tarnishing his image.
6. Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis a former NFL linebacker that was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 26th overall pick in 1996. He spent 17 seasons in the NFL, all of which with the Ravens, and retired with 2,059 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles, 31 interceptions, and three touchdowns.
In 2000, following a Super Bowl party, Lewis and his friends were involved in a fight with another group of people – two of which were stabbed to death. Lewis and his two friends were indicted on murder and assault charges, but weren’t charged. We still don’t know whether he’s the killer.
5. Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson is a former NFL running back that was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the seventh overall draft pick in 2007. He spent 15 seasons in the league, recording 17,392 scrimmage yards and 126 total touchdowns in 184 games. He was also the 2012 MVP.
Peterson has found himself under hot water on several occasions. In 2014, he was charged with recklessly assaulting his son with a tree branch – leaving slash-like wounds. Just a couple months ago, he was arrested for domestic violence on a plane, but charges were dropped.
4. Ray Rice
Ray Rice is another former NFL running back that was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the 2008 draft. He spent six seasons in the league, recording 9,214 scrimmage yards and 43 total touchdowns in 92 games played. He also won the Super Bowl in 2013.
During the 2014 offseason, Rice was involved in an elevator incident with his then-fiancee. Rice was seen on video dragging his fiancee out of the elevator after knocking her unconscious. Despite how violent it was, the NFL faced heavy criticism for only suspending him two games.
3. Ron Artest
Ron Artest, who changes his name often and currently goes by Metta Sandiford-Artest, is a former NBA forward that was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 16th overall pick in 1999. He spent 17 seasons in the NBA and is a former Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Champion.
By 2004, Artest had already been suspended several times for incidents on and off the court, but then the Malice at the Palace happened. In a game against the Pistons, Artest got in a fight with center Ben Wallace and later punched a Pistons’ fan in the face. It was quite the scene.
2. Aaron Hernandez
Aaron Hernandez is a former NFL tight end that was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. He spent just three seasons in the league, recording 175 catches for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns with Tom Brady as his quarterback. He could’ve been great.
In 2013, during the offseason, Hernandez was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd and later charged in 2015. He was also indicted for a double homicide, but was acquitted of those charges. In April 2017, Hernandez was found dead in his cell in what was ruled a suicide.
1. O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson is a former NFL running back that was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the first overall draft pick in 1969. He spent 11 seasons in the NFL, recording 13,378 scrimmage yards and 75 total touchdowns. He led the league in rushing four times and was named the 1973 MVP.
In what was probably the most famous incident with an athlete, Simpson was tried and acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend. While he wasn’t charged and was found not guilty, many people believe he was the one who stabbed them to death. Either way, we’ll likely never know.
What Does the Future Look Like for Deshaun Watson?
Deshaun Watson is the latest athlete to find himself in trouble and since investigations are ongoing with both the NFL and law enforcement, we have no way of knowing what the future holds for Watson. He could face punishment from the NFL, law enforcement, both, or neither.
For example, he could face a hefty suspension from the NFL for his actions – even if not charged with anything. He could also face fines, jail time, prison time, community service, parole, and payments to the victims – depending on whether he’s indicted of a crime or not.
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There’s also the massive $230 million contract he signed with the Browns not too long ago. Many people wish they never offered him the contract, especially amid an ongoing investigation, but his contract remains fully-guaranteed and they’re committed to him being their quarterback.
Serena Williams Gets Ready for Wimbledon Comeback & 20 Other Athletes Who Have Taken Hiatuses
Fans haven’t had an opportunity to see Serena Williams do what she does best in 12 months, but she recently announced her comeback on Instagram and we can’t wait. We last saw her play at Wimbledon one year ago, when she left her first round match due to a hamstring injury.
She was expecting to play at the US Open a few months later, but withdrew one day before the start of the event. In January, she confirmed she wouldn’t play at the 2022 Australian Open and was a non-participant at this year’s French Open – which came to a close on June 5, 2022.
Now, Serena is ready to make a comeback – healthy and well. While she wasn’t on the original list for the 2022 Wimbledon, she received a wildcard and will participate – the Grand Slam starts June 27. With 23 Grand Slam wins under her belt, she’s one away from tying Margaret Court.
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Other Athletes to Make Comeback After a Hiatus
There’s even better news – her comeback is actually starting sooner. In fact, Serena Williams is pairing with Ons Jabeur in women’s doubles at the Rothesay International and the two are scheduled to play Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo on June 21 in Eastbourne.
It’ll be Serena Williams’ first time in competition since June 29, 2021 – marking a one-year comeback that many have been waiting for. There might be some growing pains as the match starts, but she’ll work her way back into form as the match continues and she finds her groove.
There’s nothing better than a good comeback story – no matter how long or short the hiatus. It’s something we see often with professional athletes, whether it be due to an injury, mental health, retirement, other opportunities, indecision, suspension, pregnancy, or a serious health condition.
Let’s take a look at some other athletes that made a comeback after a hiatus and let’s see how many of them you remember!
20. Jon Lester
Jon Lester is a retired starting pitcher who made his major league debut on June 10, 2006 and played his final game on October 2, 2021. He finished his 16-year career with a 200-117 record, 3.66 ERA, 15 complete games, 4 shutouts, and 2,488 strikeouts in 2,740.0 innings pitched.
During his rookie season, Lester was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma – a form of cancer. He was cancer-free four months later and made a comeback during his second season. He helped the Red Sox win a World Series that year and pitched a no-hitter the following year.
19. Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown is a free agent wide receiver that seems to cause problems everywhere he goes. He has spent 12 seasons in the NFL, recording 928 receptions, 12,291 yards, and 83 touchdowns. The talent is there, but the personality isn’t and his ego often gets in the way.
Things started to go downhill when Brown demanded a trade from Pittsburgh. They sent him to the Raiders, but never played a game due to off-the-field incidents. He then went to the Patriots, but that didn’t work either. After over a year hiatus, he returned with the Bucs, but not for long.
18. Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell is an Australian batting allrounder cricket player that began his international career in 2012 and continues to play to this day. He has played in 119 ODI matches, 194 List A matches, and 362 T20 matches in his career. He has 8,193 runs and 128 wickets in T20.
In October of 2019, Maxwell announced an indefinite break from cricket to focus on his mental and physical health. Many cricket players came to his support, including Virat Kohli of India. He recently married his longtime girlfriend this year and is currently making his way back to cricket.
17. Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux is a retired center (hockey) that spent 17 seasons in the NHL – all of which with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s a Hall of Famer, two-time Stanley Cup winner, three-time MVP, six-time points leader, and two-time Stanley Cup MVP. He had 690 goals and 1,033 assists.
While Lemieux is one of the greatest players of all-time, he struggled to play a full season and only played in more than 70 games six times. He missed an entire season due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which led to his retirement in 1997. He returned in 2000 and retired again in 2006.
16. Randy Moss
Randy Moss is a retired wide receiver who played 14 seasons in the NFL with five different teams. He’s a Hall of Famer, six-time Pro Bowler, 2007 PFWA Comeback Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year in 1998. He had 982 catches for 15,292 yards and 156 touchdowns.
The 2010 season was a rough year for Moss, who played four games with the Patriots, four with the Vikings, and eight with the Titans. In August 2011, he announced his retirement, but it didn’t last long. He came out of retirement in February 2012 and played one season with the 49ers.
15. Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley is a suspended wide receiver that has played four seasons in the NFL. He was on his way to greatness with 60+ receptions, 820+ yards, and 7+ touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. He had a breakout year in 2020 with 90 catches, 1,374 yards, and 9 touchdowns.
Things started to come crashing down in 2021 when he stepped away from the game of football midway through the season due to mental health reasons. Five months later, he was suspended indefinitely for betting on games – against the NFL rules. Who knows what the future holds.
14. Brett Favre
Brett Favre is a retired starting quarterback who played 20 seasons in the NFL. He’s a Hall of Famer that won three consecutive MVP awards and was named to 11 Pro Bowls. He threw for 71,838 yards, 508 touchdowns, and 336 interceptions. He also won the 1996 Super Bowl.
In March 2008, Favre announced his retirement. Four months later, he asked to be released so he could go elsewhere – he was still under contract. He made a comeback with the Jets in 2008 before retiring in 2009 and returning one more time – this time with the Vikings for two years.
13. Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders is a retired defensive back who played 14 seasons in the NFL – he also played professional baseball. He’s a Hall of Famer (football), two-time Super Bowl champion, one-time Defensive Player of the Year, and eight-time Pro Bowler. He retired with 53 career interceptions.
Speaking of retirement, Sanders initially announced it in July 2001 while with the Washington Redskins. He attempted a playoff return in December 2002, but it didn’t end up working the way he wanted it to. He officially made his comeback in 2004 and played two years with the Ravens.
12. Randy Couture
Randy Couture is a retired professional mixed martial artist that made his debut in 1997 and fought his last fight in 2011. He finished his career with a 19-11-0 (7 KOs) record en route to becoming a six-time UFC champion – three as a heavyweight, three as a light heavyweight.
In February 2006, Couture shocked the UFC community when he announced his retirement from MMA. He made a brief return in 2007, but eventually severed all ties with the UFC by October of that year. He made one more return a year later to fight five more times in the UFC.
11. Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play. He played 11 seasons in the NFL – nine with the New England Patriots and the past two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s a four-time Super Bowl champion and was named the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year.
Not long after winning his third championship, Gronkowski announced his retirement in March 2019. He would sit out the entire season before announcing his intent to return to the NFL – but only if he was catching passes from Tom Brady. The two won another Super Bowl in 2020.
10. Michael Vick
Michael Vick is a retired starting quarterback who played 13 seasons in the NFL – mostly with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. He was a four-time Pro Bowler that was named Comeback Player of the Year in 2014. He scored 169 total touchdowns throughout his career.
In 2007, after six seasons with the Falcons, Vick pleaded guilty to dogfighting and ended up serving 21 months in prison between 2007 and 2009. He missed two seasons as a result, but signed with the Eagles not long after being released from prison – he played seven more years.
9. Niki Lauda
Niki Lauda is a retired Austrian Formula 1 racing car driver that made his first entry in 1971 and his final entry in 1985. He had 177 total entries in his career (171 starts) and 25 wins – including three championships. He’s the only racer to win a championship with Ferrari and McLaren.
In August 1976, Lauda was involved in a vicious crash that had him trapped in his vehicle while it burst into flames. He was eventually rescued, but not before suffering major burns to the face and inhaling toxic fumes. Despite that, Lauda returned after six weeks and won the title in 1977.
8. Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka is an active Japanese professional tennis player that made her pro debut in 2013. At just 24 years old, she has already accomplished a lot in the sport – she has a 263-144 career singles record with seven titles. She won the Australian Open twice and the US Open twice.
After winning the Australian Open in 2021 (her last major win), Osaka started to experience mental health issues that eventually caused her to withdraw from the French Open after the first round. She made a brief return later that year, but took another hiatus until returning in 2022.
7. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is a retired point guard who played 13 seasons in the NBA – all with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s a Hall of Famer that won five championships, three MVPs, three Finals MVPs, and two All-Star MVPs. He led the league in assists four times and steals twice.
Prior to the 1991-92 season, Johnson was diagnosed with HIV and was forced to retire from the game of basketball immediately. Although he played in the All-Star game that season, he took four years off from the NBA before returning to the Lakers in 1995 – he only played 32 games.
6. Tom Brady
Tom Brady is an active starting quarterback who is entering his 23rd season in the NFL – 20 with the New England Patriots and now three with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has won more Super Bowls (seven to be exact) than any other player or franchise in the league.
This past offseason, Brady shocked the entire sports community when he announced his retirement from the NFL after 22 years. After being retired for 40 days, he announced his intent to return to the Buccaneers for at least one more season. Who knows when he’ll finally retire.
5. Sugar Ray Leonard
Sugar Ray Leonard is a retired professional boxer who made his pro debut in 1977 and fought his final fight in 1997. He finished his 20-year career with a 36-3-1 record and 25 knockouts. He was a five-division champion, a three-time lineal champion, and one-time undisputed champion.
Known as one of the greatest of all-time, Sugar Ray had a hard time saying goodbye. He retired in 1982, but returned a year later. He retired again in 1984 before making a return in 1986. He retired in 1987, returned in 1988, retired in 1991, returned in 1996, and officially retired in 1998.
4. Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch is a retired running back who played 12 seasons in the NFL – mostly with the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and won the 2014 Super Bowl with the Seahawks. He rushed for 10,413 yards and 85 touchdowns in his career.
Lynch initially retired in 2016 after his sixth season with Seattle. After sitting out the entire 2016 season, he made his comeback with the Oakland Raiders before the team moved to Las Vegas. He planned to retire in 2018, but made another comeback – this time back to Seattle.
3. Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey is a retired mixed martial artist and active professional wrestler who earned a 12-2-0 MMA record (6-2-0 record in the UFC). She was the inaugural Bantamweight champion and defended her title six times – a female record. She’s one of the greatest fighters of all-time.
Up until November 2015, Rousey had an undefeated MMA record and was looking to defend her title a seventh time. She lost to Holly Holm and took more than a year off before returning to the octagon in December 2016. She lost again before making the transition to the WWE.
2. Tommy John
Tommy John is a retired starting pitcher who played 26 seasons in the MLB – mostly with the Yankees, White Sox, Dodgers, and Angels. He was a four-time All-Star and finished his career with a 288-231 record, 3.34 ERA, 162 complete games, 46 shutouts, and 2,245 strikeouts.
In 1974, John tore his UCL – putting his career in jeopardy. After having risky surgery, which later became known as Tommy John Surgery, he was the first pitcher to comeback after tearing a UCL. He missed the 1975 season, but went on to record 164 wins over the next 14 years.
1. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is a retired shooting guard who played 15 seasons in the NBA – 13 with the Chicago Bulls and two with the Washington Wizards. He was a six-time champion that led the league in scoring 10 times, won six Finals MVPs, and won five regular season MVP awards.
In 1993, Jordan announced his retirement despite being the defending three-time champion at the time. He lost his desire to play basketball and pursued a career in baseball before returning to the NBA after an 18-month hiatus. He went on to lead the Bulls to yet another three-peat.
There’s Nothing Better Than a Good Comeback Story
Let’s be honest, everyone loves a good comeback story. They give you chills (the good kind) and inspire or motivate you to make a comeback of your own. I mean, that’s why most pro sports leagues – like the NFL and NBA – issue an annual Comeback Player of the Year award.
We saw it recently with athletes like Tiger Woods, Joe Burrow, Kyrie Irving, Christian Eriksen, and Klay Thompson. And we’re looking forward to more comebacks happening – like Conor McGregor, Derrick Henry, Deshaun Watson, Ben Simmons, and Odell Beckham Jr..
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While you never really know how a comeback will turn out until it happens, it’s always nice to see athletes work their way back into competition. In fact, that’s true with anything in life – when you triumph over something that’s been holding you back from everything you’ve ever wanted.
- 0.1 Deshaun Watson Isn’t the Only Athlete With Baggage
- 0.2 What Does the Future Look Like for Deshaun Watson?
- 1 Serena Williams Gets Ready for Wimbledon Comeback & 20 Other Athletes Who Have Taken Hiatuses
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