Video showing police arresting Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Malik McDowell in Florida was released by TMZ on Tuesday.
The video shows a naked McDowell laying on the ground surrounded by police with restraints around his wrists and legs. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound lineman appears agitated by police as they try to keep him on the ground. McDowell is later loaded onto a stretcher and taken away, with medics putting a sheet over his body.
The South Florida Sentinel first reported the arrest of the Browns defensive tackle. The incident report obtained by the newspaper alleges that McDowell was seen walking naked near a school and then charged an officer, leaving him dazed after a “violent attack.” The officer claimed he was struck multiple times, suffering a swollen eye, per TMZ.
McDowell was scheduled to be a free agent this offseason, with the Browns holding his exclusive rights. However, McDowell’s future in the NFL is now very much in question. The team released a statement on Tuesday addressing the incident.
“We are aware of the very concerning incident and arrest involving Malik McDowell and are in the process of gathering more information,” the Browns said in a statement Tuesday morning. “We understand the severity of this matter and our thoughts are for the well-being of all involved. We will have no further comment at this time.”
McDowell Had Previous Run-Ins With Law
McDowell appeared to be turning his life around after multiple run-ins with the law prior to signing with the Browns.
McDowell was the 35th overall pick by the Seahawks in the 2017 draft but never played a down for the NFC West squad. Shortly after the draft, he suffered what was thought to be a career-ending injury during an ATV accident. In the time after, he was arrested once for driving while intoxicated and once for disorderly conduct.
The 25-year-old hit rocket bottom in 2019, when he was charged with assault/resisting arrest, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and receiving and concealing stolen property. He later pled guilty to the charges and a video of the arrest was posted on TMZ, garnering millions of views. He received an 11-month jail sentence in Michigan and was put on probation for three years.
The Browns were well aware of McDowell’s past when they signed him this offseason, setting the bar high for him to remain with the team.
“We are certainly aware of Malik’s past, as we have done extensive work on him for the last two months,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in a statement after signing McDowell this offseason. “Malik understands the expectations we have of him as he attempts to make our football team. He is committed to taking advantage of the support network in place to become the best version of himself — both on and off the field — and we will support him as he attempts to make his return to football.”
McDowell Exceeded Expectations on the Field
McDowell was the surprise of the season on the defensive side of the ball. Coming into camp he was considered somewhat of a long-shot to make the 53-man roster, but ultimately ended up wrangling a starting role.
McDowell started 14 games, notching 33 tackles and three sacks from his defensive tackle spot. He was open about his past struggles and was hoping it could help others in need.
“Everybody came up to me the next day and gave me congratulations and talked to me and said their words. It was nice,” McDowell said in October. “I don’t mind sharing my story because it might help out another dude. One of my teammates, God forbid ever be in a situation like I’m in, tell ‘em my mistakes so they don’t have to make the same mistakes. ‘Couple drinks to drive ain’t that big of a deal’ and all that type stuff. It was really something I can share, and I can hopefully reach a good ear and help somebody make a good decision.”
From a pure football perspective, the Browns have some work to do this offseason on the defensive line. With three of the four starters scheduled to be free agents, there’s a chance All-Pro Myles Garrett could have a completely new unit around him for a second consecutive year.