McDowell was the 35th overall pick by the Seahawks in 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.
“He had a serious accident,” Carroll said at the time, per NBC Sports. “He had multiple injuries. He had an injury to his head. It’s going to be quite a while, and we’re going to have to wait it out. He’s on NFI and is going to be there for a while. We’re just going to see how he progresses down the road. We’re not looking for him to get back in the immediate, not even for the first game of the season. We’re going to wait it out and see how he does.”
McDowell ran into some trouble, getting hit with a lawsuit after failing to repay nearly $800,000 of bonus money he received from the Seahawks.
He also served 11 months in jail for a series of crimes. He was charged with assault, resisting arrest and operating a vehicle while intoxicated after an incident in which he fought two officers during a DUI stop, per ESPN. Additionally, he was found in possession of a stolen truck, which led to a charge of receiving and concealing stolen property.
Browns: ‘We Are Aware of Malik’s Past’
Despite his off-field issues, McDowell was a highly-touted prospect. At Michigan State he appeared in 36 games, registering 90 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.
General manager Andrew Berry addressed the signing in a statement, saying the team has done their work on McDowell.
“We are certainly aware of Malik’s past, as we have done extensive work on him for the last two months,” Berry said in a statement released by the team. “He is accountable for his actions and has had to live with the consequences for decisions earlier in his life. We believe Malik is in a good place, personally and medically. He has taken the necessary steps to get on a healthy path, and has learned from his experiences. 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 is just 24 years old, so could still have a bright future ahead of him in the NFL if he’s able to get his ducks in a row.
Browns Officially Announce 5 Other Signings
The signings come after a celebrated draft by the Browns, in which they landed multiple key pieces for the future.
Here’s how the Browns draft shook out for Cleveland:
Round 1: No. 26 – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Round 2: No. 52 – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Round 3: No. 91 – Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
Round 4: No. 110 – James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
Round 4: No. 132 – Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State
Round 5: No. 153 – Tony Fields II, LB, West Virginia
Round 5: No. 169 – Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia
Round 6: No. 211 – Demetric Felton, WR, UCLA
An in-person rookie minicamp will be held the weekend of May 14 in Berea.