sports 4 days ago

Seahawks appear ready to give up on Malik McDowell without top pick playing for them

The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) — Gregg Bell The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

April 16--Pete Carroll and John Schneider have had some dazzling draft picks. Gems. Those stellar selections transformed the Seahawks into appearing in consecutive Super Bowls and making five straight postseasons, ending in January.

Malik McDowell is the opposite of that.

The defensive lineman may go down as the most unfortunate--meaning worst--draft pick in franchise history.

Carroll, Schneider and the Seahawks are about to give up on their top choice from 2017 by releasing him a year after drafting him, and without him ever playing or even practicing for them, because of a mysterious ATV accident. That is according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Rapoport stated Monday Seattle is "expected to release him in the near future."

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The #Seahawks have not yet cleared 2017 2nd round pick DT Malik McDowell, and source said they are expected to release him in the near future. The hope is that another team will medically clear him.

-- Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 16, 2018

The Seahawks' medical team is known to be conservative in assessments and returning a player to participation. McDowell could be asking for his release to get another team to look with fresh eyes at his health, his injuries and his potential to return to the field some day.

The Seahawks are already thin on their defensive line., particularly pass rushers they thought McDowell would be for them. They traded Michael Bennett to Philadelphia last month. They don't know if fellow end Cliff Avril will ever play again because of a neck injury. They lost Sheldon Richardson to Minnesota in free agency.

Cutting McDowell before his second season, with his 2018 salary of $781,155 guaranteed to him and three years still remaining on his rookie contract, would show they've given up hope he'll ever be even near the impact player they thought he'd be 12 months ago.

The Seahawks' results of McDowell sustaining what Carroll has vaguely termed was a serious head injury in (what is believed to be) an ATV accident last summer are entirely negative.

Carroll acknowledged during last season his team would not have traded wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick to the New York Jets last September for Richardson had McDowell been available to play. Richardson, a 2014 Pro Bowl defensive lineman with the Jets, played just the 2017 season for the Seahawks. He signed last month as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings, making him essentially nothing more than a rental player for the Seahawks in a non-playoff season. Kearse, the Lakewood native and former Lakes High School star from the University of Washington, had a career season debuting for the Jets: 61 catches and five touchdowns.

Furthermore, this month is a reminder these transitioning Seahawks sure could use that second-round pick in next week's draft it gave up in the trade that wouldn't have happened had McDowell not gotten seriously injured.

So, yeah, drafting McDowell has been a mistake for which the Seahawks will continue to pay in multiple ways.

McDowell's accident was weeks after he turned 21, and after he signed a four-year contract with Seattle worth $6.96 million with a $3.2 million signing bonus.

If he's cut he'll keep that signing bonus; he's already got that. The Seahawks could, per league rules for the non-football injury list the team put him on last year, withhold parts of McDowell's $465,000 base salary for last year that had been guaranteed in the contract he signed in June. The Seahawks have not given any indication they did or will do that.

Carroll said last August Seahawks doctors do not believe McDowell's injuries are threatening the former Michigan State star's career.

All doctors allowed him to do physically from his accident in July into last fall was walk. His prospects on returning to the field were so far down the road the Seahawks allowed him to fly back home to heal in Michigan throughout all of training camp and their four preseason games.

McDowell was not a part of the Seahawks' daily functions and came to team headquarters only later in the season. In November, Carroll announced McDowell would not play for the team in 2017.

In December, while the Seahawks were in Jacksonville to play the Jaguars without him, McDowell was arrested in Atlanta for disorderly conduct at a nightclub.

McDowell went on a profanity-filled tirade against two officers in Atlanta that early Sunday morning, including about taxes he pays. The arresting officer reported she felt she almost had to use pepper spray and a stun gun to subdue McDowell, but ultimately did not. He was booked for disorderly conduct and released on $325 bail, a report stated.

So why has McDowell's ATV accident stayed so secretive? Why is there no apparent public record, with his family protecting his privacy and prognosis?

The accident could have escaped public documentation under McDowell's name for several reasons, Michigan officials have told The News Tribune. If he was injured on private property, he could have gone to a hospital on his own. Even if a 911 call was placed for emergency transport, some counties only record the name of the caller, not all injured parties.

Continuing to honor the requests of his family, the Seahawks and Carroll have not disclosed all they know about the accident and McDowell's injury or injuries.

"I think, for the family, we've been told...they've asked us, you know... so we are (mindful of how to) express all that took place, and all that," Carroll said. "We will honor that."

And then they may cut him.

___

(c)2018 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

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