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Browns give DT Malik McDowell shot at NFL comeback after ATV accident, arrests

Nate Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal
·2 min read
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The Browns took a flier on former Seattle Seahawks second-round draft pick Malik McDowell and signed five undrafted free agents.

The team announced Monday the additions of McDowell, a defensive tackle, and undrafted rookies Marvin Wilson (defensive tackle, Florida State), Tre Harbison (running back, Charlotte), Romeo McKnight (defensive end, Charlotte), Emmanuel Rugamba (cornerback, Miami University) and Kiondre Thomas (cornerback, Kansas State).

In 2017, the Seahawks drafted McDowell 35th overall out of Michigan State University, but he never played a game for them.

McDowell suffered serious injuries, including to his head, in an ATV accident in July 2017 and subsequently committed a series of crimes to which he eventually pleaded guilty. Three of his arrests involved alcohol, including one during which he assaulted a police officer at a gas station. Another arrest stemmed from him possessing a stolen truck. He was sentenced to 11 months in jail and three years of probation in 2019.

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Jun 13, 2017; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Malik McDowell carries helmets back to the locker room following a minicamp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Jun 13, 2017; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Malik McDowell carries helmets back to the locker room following a minicamp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

The Browns signed McDowell, 6-foot-6 and 295 pounds, partly because they believe he has turned his life around while attempting a comeback.

“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. "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, 24, hasn't played a down since he was a Michigan State junior in 2016. The Seahawks waived McDowell in July 2018. The Seahawks also sued him for nearly $800,000 in forfeited signing bonus money.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Browns give Malik McDowell shot at comeback after ATV accident