It remains unclear if Malik McDowell will play this season. But the Seahawks expect Frank Clark and Germain Ifedi back soon.
After having flown to Seattle last week to officially report to Seahawks camp, rookie defensive tackle Malik McDowell has returned home to Michigan as it becomes increasingly unclear when — or if — he will be able to play this season.
McDowell, the team’s first pick in the 2017 draft out of Michigan State, suffered a concussion and other facial injuries in an ATV accident last month.
After missing the beginning of training camp, McDowell flew to Seattle last week and officially reported to the team, which meant he had to be placed on the 90-man roster. The Seahawks then placed him on the Non-Football Injury list.
Carroll said he is likely to remain there for a while and said again he doesn’t know if McDowell will be able to play this season — a lack of clarity that may point to it being more likely that he won’t see action this season given that the team has now been able to make its own examination of McDowell.
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“He had a serious accident,’’ Carroll said after Monday’s mock game in what were his most expansive comments on the topic. “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.”
Asked to clarify McDowell’s injuries, Carroll spoke again of how the McDowell family has asked for the team to limit what it says about the nature of the injuries and how he was injured.
“I think the family, we have told them, they have asked us how to express all that took place and all of that and we are complying with that,’’ Carroll said.
Asked if McDowell had suffered a fracture of his head, Carroll said: “Certainly there’s a concussion involved. But no, no there’s not (a fracture).”
Asked if McDowell’s injuries are career-threatening Carroll said: “We don’t think so. We have to wait. He just turned 21. We’ve just got to wait him out. He’s a real young kid so he has plenty of time to get well. We have to make sure and take care.”
Asked if there’s a chance he plays this year, Carroll said: “I don’t know that. I’d like to hope so, but I don’t know that.” (Carroll gave what might be viewed as an even more pessimistic answer in an interview with KJR-AM 950 after he met the media saying that it “might be a lot to ask right now” for McDowell to play this season).
Asked what the next step is for McDowell, Carroll said: “Just got to wait out recovery. He’s not working out yet. He can’t do anything as far as physical workouts. He’s walking is what he’s doing. He feels fine. It’s very frustrating for him because he feels fine, but he just has to make it through the recovery.”
McDowell, 21, signed a four-year contract worth up to $6.9 million with a $3.1 million signing bonus.
He had not been seen by the team until coming to Seahawks camp last Tuesday. When he returns to Seattle remains unclear. When he will play is even murkier.
In other personnel updates:
— Carroll said defensive tackle Frank Clark, who has not practiced since being ejected last Thursday for striking offensive tackle Germain Ifedi with a punch, has sat out in part as punishment for the incident.
“He missed a couple days here, coaches’ discretion,’’ Carroll said.
But Carroll also said Clark is dealing with “a little knee thing he’s working on to make sure he’s okay. But he should be back next Wednesday/Thursday.” Carroll said the knee has “been bothering him a little bit. We know what’s going on. That was not really the issue.” Clark had not appeared injured prior to the fight but Carroll said Clark was not injured in the fight. Carroll also said that once Clark returns that the issue will be over with. “We’re moving on from here,” he said.
Clark Tweeted later in the day that he has a “minor MCL scratch.”
— Ifedi was in full pads for the practice today but took part only in individual drills. Carroll said he will be ready to go Wednesday — the Seahawks are taking Tuesday off. Carroll did not specify the nature of Ifedi’s injury saying only “he was banged a little bit, but he’s OK” though he obviously was hit in the face by Clark and appeared to have at least a bloody lip on the day of the fight.
— OL Luke Joeckel, who had ACL/MCL last October, did not practice Monday which Carroll said was precautionary. “Just a little sore from all the work,” Carroll said. “Just want to make sure and not push him too far knowing that there’s a big day coming up. He’s done everything up until now, and he’s done really well. Really like him in both spots. The experiment of, Can he play both spots? Can he be a starter at both spots? Yes is what we feel.”
— CB Jeremy Lane remains out with what Carroll said is “a slight soft tissue thing.” He said Lane “should be ready on Wednesday.”
— DL Jarran Reed took part in early work but not in the mock game with what Carroll said was a minor groin pull. Nazair Jones worked with the number one defense in his place.
— WR Kasen Williams is out after injuring the back of his leg on Sunday. Carroll said it’s not serious but enough to keep him out today. Carroll said he got stepped on.
— Carroll said none of the other players who were out today have serious issues, saying all were “soft tissue” injuries that should heal soon. Among those in that category are RB Mike Davis, LB D.J. Alexander, SS Delano Hill and LB Marcus Smith.
— Carroll said OL Justin Senior, who is on the PUP list with a knee injury, did some running on Monday but remains a long ways from returning.