Malik McDowell‘s first chance in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks quite literally crashed and burned.
An ATV accident over the summer prior to his first training camp in the NFL left him with facial and head injuries that kept him from ever participating in a single in-season practice with the Seahawks. A slew of legal incidents would follow as well as McDowell was out of the league following his eventual release by Seattle having never played a single snap in a preseason or regular season game.
Now back in the league with the Cleveland Browns, McDowell is grateful to have found a second chance and intent on not letting it slip away.
“Everybody don’t get a second chance,” McDowell said, via Marla Ridnour of the Akron Beacon-Journal. “That was just meaningful that the NFL and anybody is willing to give me of all people another chance. That’s just a blessing right there.”
McDowell had multiple run-ins with police during his time after the accident. Those incidents included driving while intoxicated, disorderly conduct, concealing stolen property, assault and resisting arrest. He was sentenced to 11 months in jail as a part of a guilty plea in Michigan.
McDowell’s agent at the time in 2019, Drew Rosenhaus, had said that McDowell had been cleared to play by doctors that had evaluated his injuries. However, the doctors with the Seahawks differed on that assessment with head coach Pete Carroll saying at the time “The doctors wouldn’t let him play. … He had an accident that he was injured and they couldn’t clear him. So …”
McDowell credited the support of his mother and a personal reckoning for helping him get things turned around. He also said he spoke with therapists to help him out as well.
McDowell said he was appreciative of Browns general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski for giving him the second, and perhaps last, chance he’d been hoping for.
“I told them how much I wanted it and how much I wouldn’t let them down giving me this opportunity even though I had chance after chance: ‘This being my last chance and everything, you all giving me this opportunity, I won’t make you look bad.'” McDowell said.
“AB in particular … bringing me in here, sticking his neck out for me and everything. So definitely don’t want to let nobody down.”
McDowell, a second-round pick in 2017, had seven tackles and 1.5 sacks in his first preseason of football in Cleveland.