Deshaun Watson would play “the whole game” in the preseason, if he could

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At a time when NFL coaches are keeping more and more of their quarterbacks in bubble wrap for the preseason, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson would prefer to ditch the training wheels.

Asked Wednesday to specify the amount of time he’d like to play during the team’s upcoming preseason game against the Cowboys on Saturday, Watson said, “The whole game, really, if I had to. I just love to play football. Any time I get to play, especially in the NFL, the best athletes in the world, an opportunity to get on the field on a national stage is a blessing, a great opportunity for anybody. So, how much I may play, I have no idea, if I play, but we’ll just have to go from there and whenever my opportunity comes, make sure I do the best I can do.”

Apart from his desire to compete even when the competition isn’t actual competition, Watson believes that playing in the preseason is important.

“Every chance you get to play and step on that field is very important,” Watson said. “It’s more reps, so more reps is more experience, and more experience is more confidence and more opportunities for you to improve and get better, and get ready for the real action.”

Watson may not feel that way in 10 years. For now, though, he’s still early in his career, and he still gets a thrill out of playing in the preseason. Even if his head coach prefers not to endure the thrill that comes from worrying about Watson getting injured.