The Seahawks' second-round selection in the 2017 draft hasn't practiced since suffering previously undisclosed injuries in a July ATV accident.
The Seahawks’ first pick in the 2017 NFL draft — defensive lineman Malik McDowell — may be able to play at some point this season, coach Pete Carroll said Friday.
Carroll also gave the most specific description yet of the injuries the former Michigan State standout suffered in a mid-July ATV accident, saying he suffered “a really bad concussion” and that it is that injury that is now the issue as he attempts to return to the field.
McDowell has not practiced since the accident, having been placed on the non-football injury list at the start of training camp. After spending much of training camp rehabbing elsewhere, McDowell has been back in Seattle and attending meetings and other team activities of late.
Carroll said Friday McDowell will be reassessed again in two weeks or so with an eye toward seeing if he can play this season.
Asked if McDowell is out for the year Carroll said “we don’t know that yet. He’s got some stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks, I think it’s within two weeks that he’ll get kind of reassessed and all of that just to see where we are. There’s been some conversation from different camps kind of about where he is and how he’s doing, so the check-ups are really important, and we’ll just see. We’ve not ruled that thought out that he could come back.”
Being on the NFI list means McDowell could return to practice in the week prior to the game against the Giants on Oct. 22 with the Seahawks then having three weeks to see him practice before either putting him on the 53-man roster or placing him on season-ending Injured Reserve (McDowell can come off the NFI list any time during weeks 6-11 — after week 11 he would have to go on the 53-man or IR).
If the team really thinks McDowell can make it back then that will obviously impact how the team assesses what its needs are on the defensive line going forward, after losing newly signed Quinton Jefferson to a broken hand and Cliff Avril still out indefinitely.
The Seahawks took McDowell with the 35th overall pick in the second round of the draft thinking he could step right into the defensive line rotation, if not possibly a starting role, specifically in a role similar to that of Michael Bennett of playing end in the base defense and inside in passing situations.
McDowell’s absence led to Seattle’s decision in August to make a trade with the New York Jets for Sheldon Richardson, who essentially fills the role the Seahawks had envisioned for McDowell.
McDowell would obviously need some time to practice and get back in football shape having done nothing on the field with the team since mini-camp in June. But Carroll saying there’s a chance he could return would mean the team thinks he could be back for the final five games of the season.
McDowell signed a four-year contract worth $6.9 million with a $3.1 million signing bonus, a slotted contract based on the fact he was picked 35th.