Bad start to the Seahawks season.
An all-terrain vehicle accident a couple of weeks ago has Seahawks’ top draftee DE/DT Malik McDowell home resting in Michigan and out of training camp. He could miss part or all of the season, according to coach Pete Carroll Sunday, the first day of camp.
The Seahawks were sketchy on providing details, but the NFL Network said McDowell had a concussion and facial injuries. Carroll responded, “We’ll see — I don’t know that,” to a question about whether he could miss the season. McDowell was placed on the reserve/did not report list.
McDowell tweeted Sunday afternoon that the ominous speculation about his health was unwarranted.
— Malik McDowell (@MSU_LEEK4) July 30, 2017
The 6-foot-6. 290-pounder from Michigan State was a second-round pick after he fell from first-round projections because of questions about his degree of motivation. The Seahawks traded down three times and took him at 35th overall, convinced they had a steal because he was an answer to improving the depth and pass-rush effectiveness of the defensive line.
The team’s statement:
“Unfortunately, Malik McDowell was involved in a vehicular accident in which he suffered an injury during the NFL break period. As a precautionary measure, Malik has remained back in Michigan under the care of physicians there. Our medical people have been in constant communication with his physicians and have been monitoring the situation. At this point it is important for Malik to stay at home and rest. We consider this a long-term relationship and will do whatever is in the best interest of Malik. We look forward to Malik’s return to Seattle and will update you with any changes.”
Asked about McDowell’s spirits, Carroll said, “It’s challenging. He had extraordinarily high hopes to be here and be here with us and he’s not able to do so.
“Everything is above board and cleared, what we are doing, but it’s going to take a little while. There is a statement that came out and we are just honoring the family and him properly.”
The Seahawks passed up draft chances with their No. 1 pick that would have addressed more urgent concerns at cornerback or offensive line, thinking they saw something in McDowell that other teams were scared by. McDowell’s poor judgment in his ATV usage will postpone the chance for early validation of that thinking.
At the time of the draft NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said McDowell was “gifted genetically” but “runs hot and cold.
“When you watch him against Notre Dame, he looks like a top-15 pick. If you watch him against Northwestern, he looked like a top-15 pick. If you watched him against Michigan, he looked like a fourth-round pick. So I’ve had an awful lot of coaches say, ‘If we can just unlock the potential in this kid, we’ll have something special.’
“Pete Carroll has always done a great job of taking these kinds of guys and getting the best (out of them), whether he was at USC or Seattle.”
In May, McDowell signed a four-year contract worth $6.9 million that included a $3.2 million signing bonus, some of which could be in jeopardy if the Seahawks think he violated its terms by engaging in dangerous activity.