Browns give Malik McDowell a chance to resume his NFL career after ATV accident and legal issues
When the Seahawks selected Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell with the 35th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, it looked like they were getting a steal.
He has never played down the NFL, having been released by Seattle in March 2019 after a series of legal issues. Now, for the first time since his release from the Seahawks, he will be part of an NFL team.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Browns have decided to try their luck on McDowell, signing him to their 90-man roster.
– Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 3, 2021
The Browns have lost defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi in the offseason, so they have some rotation spots to gain, although they have added veterans Malik Jackson and Sheldon Day as well as fourth-round pick Tommy. Togiai to their list. McDowell, 24, can fight with them for spots on the roster behind Andrew Billings and 2020 third-round pick Jordan Elliott.
McDowell at 6-6, 300 pounds was once considered a potential first-round prospect who averaged 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks in his last two seasons with the Spartans. He looked like he wanted to help reinvigorate a strong Seahawks’ defensive line when they drafted him in 2017.
But McDowell was injured in an ATV crash a few weeks before the Seahawks’ training camp. He was then arrested and charged with DUI, which sparked a series of legal problems for him. In December 2017, McDowell was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. In February 2019, he had an altercation with the police and was charged with driving a vehicle while intoxicated.
After this incident, McDowell was officially released by the Seahawks. But the problem didn’t end there: He was arrested after police found a stolen car in his possession in April 2019. McDowell ultimately pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 11 months in prison. McDowell was medically cleared to return to football in 2020, earning a try with the Dolphins during the season.
McDowell will face an uphill battle after four years off the football field, but he could finally have a chance to play his first NFL snap. And while he may not earn a spot on Cleveland’s final 53-player roster, he might be a practice squad candidate if he performs well enough. Either way, he’s back on the pitch.
A few years ago, it seemed to be happening.