DETROIT – Former Michigan State football star Malik McDowell is being asked to pay back $800,000 of his signing bonus because of an ATV crash that left him unable to play for the Seattle Seahawks the last two seasons.
Seattle selected McDowell with the 35th overall pick in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft. The Farmington Hills native was a five-star high school recruit who made 88 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks over three seasons at Michigan State.
McDowell agreed to a four-year, $6.95 million contract with a signing bonus of $3.19 million that would be paid in four installments, according to records.
McDowell's contract, which was signed on May 30, 2017, included a paragraph about nonfootball injuries.
"Without prior written consent of the club, player will not engage in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury," the contract reads.
McDowell was paid $1,598,476 before June 2, 2017, and $800,000 on July 14, 2017, according to court records.
In July 2017, McDowell crashed his ATV and sustained injuries that kept him off the field for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, records show.
The Seahawks cited a section of the NFL collective bargaining agreement that says a player who "is unavailable to the team due to a nonfootball injury that results from a material breach of paragraph 3 of his NFL player contract" is required to forfeit the signing bonus for each league year affected by the breach.
As a result, the Seahawks requested McDowell give back his 2017 and 2018 signing bonus payments.
The Seahawks took McDowell to arbitration on July 20, 2018. McDowell was represented by the NFL Player's Association, court records show.
McDowell said he would not contest that he had forfeited his 2017 and 2018 signing bonus money, according to the Seahawks. He later confirmed he did not contest the forfeiture during a telephone hearing on Feb. 27, 2019, officials said.
Here are the findings of the arbitration:
"Through his actions in July of 2017, McDowell breached paragraph three of the McDowell contract due to his engagement in an activity that may involve significant risk of personal injury and which did in fact cause him to sustain a personal injury that prevented him from rendering playing servies required by his contract during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
"To date, McDowell has forfeited his signing bonus allocations for 2017 and 2018 under article four, sectino nine of the CBA. The signing bonus is allocated at $799,619 per year. As a result, McDowell has forfeited $1,599,238. McDowell is currently required to repay the Seahawks $799,238, which amount represents the $1,599,238 forfeited, less the $800,000 of the signing bonus that the club withheld."
McDowell was ordered to pay the Seahawks $799,238 within 30 days.
He had 10 days to appeal the order, but did not do so, according to court records.
More than 30 days have passed, but McDowell still has not paid the $799,238, the Seahawks said.
The Seahawks are asking authorities to require McDowell to pay $799,238 within 10 days of confirming the new order, plus interest from the date of the order.