The Seattle Seahawks and their fans were quite excited for Malik McDowell, the former Michigan State lineman who was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, McDowell suffered a head injury in an ATV accident before training camp started, and has yet to play an NFL snap in his career. The Seahawks released him after the 2018 season, but aren’t done with him yet. The Detroit News reports the team is suing McDowell for failing to repay his signing bonus.
An arbitrator ruled in February that McDowell breached the terms of his contract when he suffered his accident in July 2017, and he must repay the portion of his signing bonus the Seahawks paid him after he was drafted, just under $800,000. After a three-month grace period, the Seahawks filed a lawsuit in Michigan Thursday, claiming McDowell hasn’t repaid what the arbitrator ruled he must.
McDowell reportedly suffered a serious head injury, and while he and his agent Drew Rosenhaus believe he can play again, Seattle’s doctors never felt comfortable declaring him ready to even participate in practice, much less dress for game days. McDowell met with the Cowboys this offseason, but nothing has come of the meeting.
Given all the details of the situation, Seattle’s decision to file a lawsuit isn’t a huge surprise. All professional sports contracts have clauses about extra-curricular activities and protection from the injuries that could stem from them. Fans may call this a selfish move by the franchise, but at the end of the day, football is a business, and McDowell violated his contract. Given the arbitrator’s previous ruling, it seems likely they’ll get their money back.