McDowell has never played a single snap of football in the NFL – preseason or regular season – since being selected with the No. 35 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
Prior to training camp that season, McDowell was injured in an ATV accident that left him with a serious concussion, facial injuries and more. He did not report to the team for the start of training camp and remained on the non-football injury for the entire season. While away from the team, McDowell was arrested for disorderly conduct at an Atlanta bar.
McDowell was released and moved to the non-football injury list for a second straight season in 2018 before the team officially cut ties altogether in March, 2019. He visited the Dallas Cowboys soon after with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declaring that McDowell had been cleared to return to football. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said multiple times that their doctors would not clear him to play.
The Seahawks would sue McDowell for not repaying his signing bonus due to the accident that kept him off the field. McDowell then ran into more legal problems as he would be arrested on charges of assault and resisting arrest, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and receiving and concealing stolen property.
McDowell was sentenced to 11 months in prison with three years of probation for the incidents.