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Seahawks’ top pick Malik McDowell recovering from vehicular accident, says he’ll rejoin team soon

RENTON – Seahawks rookie defensive lineman Malik McDowell says he’s “doing well” and that he expects to rejoin the team within the next few days following a reported ATV accident involving Seattle’s top pick.

McDowell was absent as the Seahawks held their first practice of training camp on Sunday. A team spokesperson read a statement afterward saying that McDowell is resting at home in Michigan as a precautionary measure.

The statement was vague about the accident and McDowell’s status – as was coach Pete Carroll when asked about it – because it’s a personal medical matter as opposed to an injury suffered on the field. The NFL Network reported that it was an ATV accident and that McDowell suffered a concussion as well as facial injuries.

News and updates from Seahawks training camp

Asked if the accident could keep McDowell from playing this season, Carroll said: “We’ll see. We’ll see. I don’t know that.”

The statement McDowell released on Twitter sounded more positive. It read: “I appreciate all the concern regarding my health. I just want to clear the air. I am doing well and expect to rejoin my teammates in Seattle in the next few days. My injury is not life or career threatening as some have speculated. I am grateful for the support I have received from the (S)eahawks organization, my doctors and my family. You will see me back on the field in the near future.”

The Seahawks’ statement only referred to it as a vehicular accident. It mentioned that it took place during the NFL break, referring to the six-week period between the end of minicamp in mid-June and the start of training camp. Carroll said the accident took place “a couple weeks ago” to the best of his knowledge.

McDowell tweeted on July 17: “Just wanna thank the lord that I’m still here.”

The Seahawks’ statement: “Unfortunately, Malik McDowell was involved in a vehicular accident in which he suffered an injury during the NFL break. As a precautionary measure, Malik has remained back in Michigan under the care of physicians there. Our medical people have been in constant communication with his physicians and have been monitoring the situation. At this point it is important for Malik to stay at home and rest. We consider this a long-term relationship and will do whatever is in the best interest of Malik. We look forward to Malik’s return to Seattle and will update you with any changes.”

The Seahawks placed McDowell on the Reserve/Did Not Report list. That allows the team to free up a spot on its 90-man offseason roster whereas McDowell would have counted against that limit had he been placed on the Non Football Injury list. Seattle signed defensive tackle Rodney Coe to fill that roster spot.

McDowell was the Seahawks’ top pick in this year’s draft, chosen in the second round out of Michigan State. He has been expected to fill a situational role as a rookie, likely as a pass-rusher in Seattle’s nickel defense.

It’s not immediately clear if McDowell’s accident violated any terms of his rookie contract, which he signed in late-May.

Asked how McDowell is handling the situation, Carroll said: “It’s challenging. He had extraordinarily high hopes to be here, be with us, and he’s not able to. Everything’s above board and clear and all that with what we’re doing, but it’s going to take a little while because this is the first time there’s been a statement to come out and we’re just honoring the family in how to handle this properly.”

Carroll added: “We were very excited about him and we continue to be, and hopefully we’ll get him back soon.”