CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns added another defensive piece to their roster Monday after previously adding rookies in the 2021 NFL Draft and in the ongoing undrafted free agency process, signing defensive tackle Malik McDowell.
McDowell was originally selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Michigan, but the defensive lineman has not yet appeared in an NFL game.
After being involved in an ATV crash, McDowell missed his entire rookie season and was placed on the non-football injury reserve list.
The Seahawks waived McDowell in 2018.
In his college career, McDowell appeared in 36 games, recording 90 tackles, 24.5 for loss, with 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception.
Browns general manager Andrew Berry issued the following statement regarding McDowell's signing:
We are certainly aware of Malik’s past, as we have done extensive work on him for the last two months. 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.
McDowell joins a revamped defensive line roster as the Browns have added free agents Jadeveon Clowney, Takkarist McKinley, and Malik Jackson as well as drafted Tommy Togiai and signed undrafted free agents Romeo McKnight and Marvin Wilson after losing Lary Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson in free agency.
There are still hopes that Richardson returns to Cleveland if he doesn't sign elsewhere.
“I think it's certainly possible. Obviously, it's something that has to work for all parties involved, but we like Sheldon. He was a productive member of our team and a big part of our success last year. If that ends up being the right fit, that alignment is certainly something we would welcome,” Berry said before the Draft.