RENTON It was confirmation day for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks.
Monday, while stating during his weekly press conference what had become obvious was true that Kam Chancellor will miss the rest of the season and Cliff Avril decided on the neck surgery he’d been contemplating, Seattle’s coach said top rookie draft choice Malik McDowell will not play this season.
“I don’t think that’s happening,” Carroll said a day after the Seahawks’ 24-13 win at San Francisco. “There’s not any progress being made in that direction.”
Carroll said he doesn’t know whether McDowell can play next season, either. The speedy, long defensive lineman got a concussion and other serious injuries in an ATV accident in July in his home state of Michigan.
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Asked about McDowell’s long-term outlook for playing, Carroll said: “I don’t know.”
McDowell has been at the facility for the last month doing some light conditioning work, but apparently an attempt to increase intensity toward anything football related recently was a no-go. He remains on the non-football-injury list, which is the same as injured reserve in that such a player does not count against the roster but is different in that a team can take some money from an NFI player if it deems an action to be reckless against the spirit of not letter of his contract. But the Seahawks have given zero indication they would do that to McDowell, and Carroll has repeatedly said the team was going to “take care of him.”
This result has seemed inevitable since early August, when the team and Carroll announced ominously and cryptically that McDowell was injured seriously and no one knew when he might play again. That was back when all doctors would allow him to do was walk.
McDowell, a former Michigan State standout, turned 21 on June 20. That was weeks before his accident--and less than a month after he signed a four-year contract with Seattle worth $6.96 million, with a $3.2 million signing bonus.
“I think, for the family, we’ve been told...they’ve asked us, you know... so we are (cognizant how to) express all that took place, and all that,” Carroll said in early August. “We will honor that.”
They have in the months since. The only detail Carroll has given of McDowell’s injuries from the accident is that he sustained a concussion. But a standard concussion alone wouldn’t be keeping him out an entire year and put his career in doubt before it started. His prospects on returning to the field have been so far down the road the Seahawks allowed him to fly back home to heal in Michigan throughout all of training camp and their four preseason games. He eventually returned to the Seattle area and team headquarters during the regular season, but has not come close to training let alone practicing.