Speculation on the extent of Malik McDowell’s injuries sustained in an ATV accident have ranged from “He’s almost definitely not playing this season” to “But wait, you’re saying he’s reporting to camp so that must mean he’ll miss no time.” The former still sounds likelier than the latter, but the truth is that none of us have any idea what’s going on with McDowell’s injuries — and that includes the Seahawks being in the dark until recently.
Pete Carroll spoke to the media following day three of training camp and said that McDowell arrived in Seattle this week and was scheduled to meet with Seahawks doctors on Tuesday:
“He is in the area now. He got in town,” Carroll said. “We are really anxious to let everyone see him and take care of him and look after him and really find out first-hand.”
Presumably then, team doctors will have a full idea of what sort of road to recovery McDowell is facing, which means that hopefully speculation on his return timetable can turn into reality.
McDowell fell in the draft from being an early first round pick to an early second round pick by Seattle partially because of a questionable desire or commitment to football. This ATV accident did nothing to deter that red flag, but is totally in line with what Carroll preaches to his players about living their lives outside of football as they want to as long as they aren’t breaking any laws. Jimmy Graham flies airplanes for fun. McDowell rode around in an ATV and got hurt. There are almost certainly hundreds of incidents in the last five years of Seahawks doing similar stunts, and not getting hurt, and therefore there not being any awareness of the events so we don’t judge those players for it. Most importantly, this is Malik McDowell’s cross to bear. The Seahawks organization will be just fine. It’s been around since the 1970s and there’s a mildly decent chance it will be around in the 2070s. Paul Allen’s bank account isn’t suffering. Pete Carroll’s job is safe. “The 12s” have been able to root for this Seattle football team for decades and will continue to get the opportunity to do so for decades to come.
McDowell is the one who suffers from this. Players are lucky if they get more than four years to play professional football. He may have cost himself one of those years and at worst, he will return but with a cloud hanging over his head that he nearly lost everything. From the look of the tweet he sent out shortly after the accident, McDowell sounds lucky to be alive.
Hopefully if there is significant news on Wednesday, it is positive. Now is not the time to blame, now is the time to support.