May 8, 2021

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Browns signs free agent DT Malik McDowell in NFL return bid

(Photo by Zach Bolinger / Icon Sportswire)

Andrew Berry has added 5 undrafted free agents with something to prove to the Cleveland Browns roster.

Each of them had substandard final seasons due to Covid or an injury that could have cost them in the draft.

But none of the UDFAs have as much to prove as the Browns latest signing of free agent Malik McDowell.

McDowell was a second-round pick (35th overall) for the Seattle Seahawks in 2017.

Sadly, a serious ATV accident just before training camp left McDowell with brain and eye injuries.

While in the non-football injury reserve, McDowell had a series of run-ins with the law.

Alcohol played a role in these events, including a DUI in September 2017 and a disorderly people charge in December.

In 2019, McDowell got into a brawl with police, who accused him of driving a vehicle under the influence, as well as resisting arrest and assault.

Later that year, police found him in possession of a stolen vehicle and added reception and concealment charges.

McDowell pleaded guilty to all 2019 charges and was sentenced to 11 months.

But the judge also commissioned McDowell to write 4 essays in the first 90 days on accountability and respect.

This sometimes indicates that a judge thinks an accused is more troubled than embarrassing.

McDowell on the return trail

McDowell must have thought through his essay topics enough to impress the judge.

He was released soon after serving his first three months, with several years of probation.

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, announced that doctors cleared his client for football in May 2020.

McDowell worked for the Miami Dolphins last October and was scheduled to attend the College Gridiron Showcase event in January.

It weighed 6’6 ” and 280 pounds, 15 pounds less than its 2017 combine weight.

It’s also over 20 pounds lighter than his last roster weight at Michigan State.

McDowell’s CGS performance must have caught Andrew Berry’s attention somehow.

McDowell will be 25 at the start of the season and has not been in a competitive game for 4 years.

He certainly has a long row to hoe in front of him.

But Andrew Berry has made a lot of good bets on free will and the NFL Draft so far.

And the upbeat Cleveland Browns locker room could be the perfect place for McDowell to come back into the game.