RENTON, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks’ top draft pick isn’t in training camp yet after being involved in a "vehicular accident" recently, a team spokesperson said.
The team issued a short press release after the first practice of the season Sunday morning saying defensive lineman Malik McDowell “suffered an injury,” but didn’t elaborate.
“As a precautionary measure, Malik has remained back in Michigan under the care of physicians there,” the statement reads.
This led to speculations that Malik could be out for the season.
Malik cleared that up for fans shortly after the Seahawks' first practice concluded, saying on Twitter, "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."
Malik went on to say, "My injury is not life or career threatening as some have speculated. I am grateful for the support I have received from the Seahawks organization, my doctors, and my family. You will see me back on the field in the near future."
McDowell was placed on the reserve/did not report list which opened up a spot on the 90-man roster for the Seahawks to sign defensive tackle Rodney Coe. When asked if McDowell may not play this season, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said, "We'll see. I don't know that."
In the statement issued by the team and read by a team spokesman, the Seahawks said "At this point, it's important for Malik to stay home and rest. We consider this a long-term relationship and will do whatever is in the best interest of Malik."
Carroll was vague in his comments about the situation.
"It's challenging. He had extraordinarily high hopes to be here and be with us and he's not able to," Carroll said. "Everything is above board and clear what we're doing, but it's going to take a little while."
The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that McDowell was in an ATV accident.
McDowell was the Seahawks' second-round pick, their first overall in this year's draft.
McDowell was Seattle's first selection in last spring's draft, taken in the second round out of Michigan State. At 6-foot-6 and nearly 300 pounds, McDowell was expected to be a major contributor in Seattle's defensive line rotation as a rookie with the potential to rush from the inside or line up as a defensive end.
Seattle was thrilled when it was able to trade out of the first round, acquire additional picks, and still land a prized defensive lineman with the 35th overall selection.
That optimism is on hold, at least until McDowell gets to Seattle and his status can be assessed by the team.
"We're just hoping he has a really good recovery. It's unfortunate," Carroll said.
As expected wide receiver Tyler Lockett and cornerback DeShawn Shead began training camp on the physically unable to perform list as both continue to recover from major injuries late last season.
Lockett is clearly ahead in his recovery from breaking two bones in his lower right leg and Carroll said his stint on PUP won't be very long.
Shead suffered a torn ACL in Seattle's playoff loss to Atlanta and recently had a minor follow-up procedure to fix a cartilage issue in his knee. Carroll said the new surgery should help Shead's overall recovery time.
Also not practicing on the first day were rookie offensive lineman Justin Senior and offseason signing Dion Jordan. Jordan was placed on the non-football injury list as he continues to recover from knee surgery.