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Daryl Washington to PFT: I’ve made ‘tremendous strides as a man’

(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

Daryl Washington said in a statement to Pro Football Talk that he’s made “tremendous strides as a man” during his three years away from the league.

The NFL announced Tuesday that the Arizona Cardinals linebacker has been reinstated under a conditional basis after he was indefinitely suspended following the 2013 season.

“I’m honored and humbled to be back in the National Football League,” Washington said in a statement provided to PFT. “These last three years have been the most difficult of my life without the game I love so much. That said, I’ve used this time to make tremendous strides as a man and have grown into a proud husband, father, and contributing member of my community.”

Washington also said that he’s in the best shape of his life and has been training six days a week for more than a year while in order to resume his NFL career. The linebacker, who played for Arizona from 2010-13, added that he fully intends to play at an All-Pro level next season.

He was an All-Pro in 2012, recording 134 tackles, nine sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. The Cardinals’ 2010 second-round draft pick made the All-Pro second team in 2012.

Washington was suspended due to drug-related issues but also plead guilty in an aggravated assault case involving the mother of his child in 2013.

In his Tuesday statement, the 30-year-old thanked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, his attorney as well as his Cardinals teammates.

One such teammate, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, expressed his excitement for Washington’s reinstatement on Tuesday.

Washington’s reinstatement by the league was followed by the Cardinals addressing the situation, saying it was premature to discuss the linebacker’s future with the team — he remains under contract — because they have not been permitted to talk to him during the suspension.

The linebacker said he was committed to becoming a leader in the locker room and beyond.

“As I told Mr. Goodell, I will use this opportunity to help lead and mentor younger guys in the locker room and in my community to learn from my mistakes and understand it’s an honor to be in the NFL.”

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