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Whisenhunt happy to have Washington deal done

The Arizona Cardinals continued their youth movement by signing linebacker Daryl Washington to a six-year deal Thursday. Washington still had two years remaining on his existing contract but the Cardinals felt it was important to keep the young star around.

“It’s great when you have a young guy that’s made the strides the way Daryl has. We thought highly of him before we ever even drafted him and he certainly hasn’t let us down,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “So to know that he’s going to be here a number of years, it’s a great thing.”

Washington has recorded 185 tackles, three interceptions and six sacks in his two-year career. Whisenhunt knows what makes him such a special player.

“For the fit and what we’re trying to get done defensively, he has all the things that you like to see. He’s smart, fast and he thumps a lot more than what you think he would based on his size. All those things to play to that linebacker position, make him very valuable.”

Washington was no slouch in 2011. He set a new career high with 111 total tackles, two interceptions and five sacks. A lot has been made about the physical attributes that make him such a stud but there’s more to Washington, according to Whisenhunt.

“His work ethic, you know that’s one of the things that you look for in some of these young players. If they’re going to be a leader, if they’re going to be one of the guys that you count on defensively. They gotta be the right kind of guy and Daryl is that.”

Washington has appeared in 31 games for the Cardinals, including 25 starts, during his first two seasons. He’ll be on the field Sunday against the Seahawks for his 26th start and Arizona is counting on him to make an impact.

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