Just two years ago, Malik McDowell was the top draft pick made by the Seattle Seahawks. After an accident prior to training camp left McDowell with multiple injuries, he ultimately ended up never appearing in a game for Seattle before being officially released earlier this month.
While McDowell’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, claims McDowell has been cleared to return to football, the team that drafted him and waited two years to see if he could recover had a different evaluation.
According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, head coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that the team’s medical staff wouldn’t clear McDowell to play.
“The doctors wouldn’t let him play,” Carroll said. ” … He had an accident that he was injured and they couldn’t clear him. So …”
The Seahawks have always been vague about the full extent of McDowell’s injuries. Outside of referring to it as “a really bad concussion,” details have been scant as the team has said they couldn’t speak on the subject. The team had been excited about McDowell’s prospects when they selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
“He’s too unique,” general manager John Schneider said that night. “We’ve been looking for a pass rushing three technique, we’ve talked about this a lot, since we’ve been here together.”
Instead, he was never able to practice with the team following mini-camps his first year as the Seahawks couldn’t clear him.
“Great for him because I know he’d love to play in a game and all that,” Carroll said on Tuesday. “They’ve got that figured out and he’s gotten (cleared) and all that, but we had to deal with it the way we did. So it’s surprising.”
Asked what was surprising, Carroll said that “it sounds like somebody cleared him, doctors cleared him to play.”
McDowell met with the Dallas Cowboys last week. Whether the Cowboys, or any team, will agree with the independent doctors that cleared McDowell to play or whether they will agree with the assessment of the Seahawks’ staff remains to be seen.