He had a lot of painful physical battles.
But in February, he clashed with a police officer and his Taser gun during a tense confrontation as a result of an alleged traffic violation.
McDowell, a second round pick among the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, has been charged with simply assaulting a peace officer, operating under influence, impeding justice and driving with a suspended license.
"Things are not always as they seem, there is a story to that," his lawyer Mitchell Ribitwer told CNN.
McDowell's next hearing is July 29, said his lawyer.
The February 18 video surveillance, recorded by a police camera and inside a Marathon gas station located in Lathrup Village, Michigan, shows McDowell, 23, confronting an agent from police.
The agent speaks to him for more than a minute on the parking lot. McDowell comes out of his jeep and enters the store, while the cop catches him by an arm. They jostle one another in an alley and when they come back to the front of the store, McDowell falls.
The officer removes his Taser while McDowell gets on his knees. The video shows the officer telling McDowell to get on his stomach or pull the Taser.
McDowell did not comply and the branches were unloaded. The officer wrote in his report that they were ineffective because they touched McDowell's thick jacket. He therefore took out the cartridge and tried to use the stun portion of the stun gun by touch.
Another officer arrives and helps to control McDowell. Both say that McDowell got their hands on the scuffles, and the video shows his hand on the second officer's holster.
None of the officers took out a firearm.
McDowell can be heard on the video repeatedly saying that he wanted to see a police supervisor.
McDowell was taken to the hospital where two vials of his blood were taken and he told health workers that he was not injured. Later, after booking, he complained of headaches. In the hospital, he was diagnosed with a possible concussion, a third officer writes in the report.
A lab test revealed that McDowell had a blood alcohol level of 0.189, more than twice the legal limit.
McDowell stopped playing for the Seahawks after an all-terrain vehicle accident two years ago. It's a free agent. He played college at Michigan State University.
CNN contacted McDowell's agent on Tuesday but did not receive a response.
Fixed: Some versions of this article used a misidentified picture like Malik McDowell. The image has been corrected.