Ex-MSU standout Malik McDowell getting second chance in NFL with Browns

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
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Malik McDowell is getting another shot in the NFL.

The former Michigan State defensive tackle and Southfield High graduate, who was a second-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, was signed by the Cleveland Browns on Monday.

The Cleveland Browns are giving Malik McDowell the chance to revive an NFL career stopped by some serious legal trouble.

McDowell has not played in an NFL game, suffering an injury in an ATV accident the summer after he was drafted and eventually being waived from the non-football injury list in 2018. The Seahawks released McDowell in 2019.

His release came as McDowell was in the midst of several legal issues.

He was convicted of drunken driving in February of 2018 and then in February of 2019, McDowell was involved in an altercation at a gas station with Lathrup Village police. Video showed McDowell confronting an officer, refusing to hand over his license and while grabbing the office and putting his hand on the officer’s gun. Police deployed an electric stun gun, but it didn't faze the football player. Other officers helped handcuff McDowell.

In April of 2019, McDowell was charged with receiving and concealing stolen property. That stemmed from an investigation of pickup thefts from a Ford Motor Co. overflow lot in Dearborn.

It all led to McDowell, in October of 2019, pleading guilty to charges of assault/resisting arrest, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and receiving and concealing stolen property. He was sentenced to three months probation and three years of community service.

The Browns, who signed five other players on Monday, addressed the signing on Monday.

“We are certainly aware of Malik's past, as we have done extensive work on him for the last two months," Browns executive vice president of football operations and GM 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.”

At Michigan State, McDowell was a freshman All-American in 2014 and earned second-team All-American honors as a junior in 2016 from SI.com and CBS Sports. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in back-to-back seasons and chose to forgo his final season eligibility with the Spartans.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau

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