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Arizona Cardinals release LB Daryl Washington

Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Daryl Washington (58) against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Cardinals met with linebacker Daryl Washington on Monday in part to help determine what course of action they would take with the former Pro Bowler who was suspended the last three years.

It did not take them long to come to a decision, as on Thursday the team decided to release him, offering up this statement:

“After meeting with Daryl Washington, we have collectively decided it is best to release Daryl and give him the opportunity to continue his career elsewhere.”

Washington, in a statement to ProFootballTalk, said he appreciated the Cardinals.

“I want to thank the Cardinals organization, especially Mr. Bidwell (sic) and Steve Keim for drafting and believing in me, and their continued support. We’ve had some really positive and productive discussions this week, and at the end of the day we mutually agreed it was best for both sides to get a fresh start. I’m in the best shape of my life, and very much look forward to the next opportunity, where I will again play at an All-Pro level and help my team make a championship run.”

Washington, who was conditionally reinstated by the NFL on April 25, was suspended due to multiple violations of the NFL’s policy on substance abuse as well as a domestic violence incident.

Thursday’s decision ends, at least in Arizona, a career that showed incredible promise at times. A second-round pick out of TCU in 2010, Washington quickly emerged as an impact player, and by 2011 was a full-time starter. That season, he recorded 107 total tackles along with five sacks, two interceptions and seven passes defensed. The following season he tallied 134 total tackles, nine sacks, one interception and four passes defensed en route to his first career Pro Bowl berth.

However, it was from there Washington’s off-the-field troubles started to catch up with him, leading him to being suspended the first four games of the 2013 season. He returned and was effective — picking up 75 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and 11 passes defensed — and once again seemed to be a key part of the team’s future.

But then word came in late-May that he was suspended again, and at that point the Cardinals had little choice but to move on as if he was no longer part of the team.

Until this past Monday, when team president Michael Bidwill, GM Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians had a chance to meet with Washington, it had been nearly three full years since the parties had spoken.

In theory, an in-shape Washington, even at 30 years of age, could be a productive player. However, the Cardinals do not exactly have a hole at inside linebacker, and according to OvertheCap.com, cutting him now frees up $3 million in salary cap space, with $1.875 million in dead money being assessed.

On Wednesday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said team president Michael Bidwill would “ultimately make the decision” on Washington, one way or the other.

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