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Pete Carroll: Seahawks’ top pick Malik McDowell will be out ‘quite a while’

RENTON – Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that rookie defensive lineman Malik McDowell is going to be out “quite a while” as he recovers from injuries sustained in a recent ATV accident.

Since McDowell’s accident was revealed on the first day of training camp, comments from the team have left the impression that its top draft pick wasn’t going to be playing football anytime soon. Carroll stated as much on Monday, saying that while the team doesn’t think McDowell’s injuries are career-threatening, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to play this season.

“He had a serious accident. He had multiple injuries, he had the injury to his head,” Carroll said. “It’s going to be quite a while, and we’re going to have to wait it out. He’s on (the Non-Football Injury list) and he’s going to be there for a while, and we’re just going to have to see how he progresses really down the road. We’re not looking for him to get back in the immediate (future), not even for the first game of the season and that kind of stuff. We’re going to wait it out and see how he does.”

Carroll said McDowell is up and walking around and has returned home to Michigan since reporting to the Seahawks’ facility last week, which gave the team its first chance to examine him since his accident. Carroll confirmed that McDowell sustained a concussion, which had been reported by the NFL Network, but he declined to give any more details about the nature or the extent of his other injuries, saying that the team is complying with the wishes of McDowell’s family.

The NFL Network also reported that McDowell sustained facial injuries in the accident.

Asked if McDowell’s career is in any jeopardy, Carroll said: “We don’t think so. We don’t think so, but we have to wait. He just turned 21. We’ve just got to wait him out. He’s a real young kid so he’s got plenty of time to get well and all, but we have to make sure and take care of him.”

Carroll’s response when asked if there’s a chance McDowell plays this season: “I don’t know that. I’d like to hope so, but I don’t know that.”

Another question that remains is whether or not the Seahawks will pursue any of the signing-bonus money that’s been paid to McDowell on the grounds that he was injured away from the team. Standard NFL contract language prohibits players from engaging in non-football activities that could involve risk of personal injury.

As for McDowell’s status, Carroll said the next step is just to “wait out the recovery.”

“He’s not working out yet, he can’t do anything as far as physical workouts,” Carroll said. “He’s walking is what he’s doing. He feels fine. It’s very frustrating for him because he feels fine, but he’s just got to make it through the recovery.”