The NFL has confirmed the news that was first reported by Cardinals insider Mike Jurecki: Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington has been suspended for the entire 2014 season.
Arizona Sports’ Paul Calvisi then noted that the suspension had nothing to do with Washington’s pending domestic violence case.
Update: Sources say #Cards LB Daryl Washington suspended “at least one year” for violating NFL substance abuse policy. Official word coming
— Paul Calvisi (@PaulCalvisi) May 30, 2014
The NFL confirmed the suspension is related to drugs.
Washington, a second-round pick of the Cardinals in 2010, was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. After returning from the suspension, Washington accumulated 75 tackles and three quarterback sacks for the Cardinals.
“It’s completely unacceptable that Daryl has once again put us in this position. We all know what the consequences are and will deal with them. From a personal standpoint, our hope is that this suspension will give Daryl the opportunity to accept the necessary help and guidance to get his life back on track and we will certainly support him however we can,” general manager Steve Keim said Friday in a statement.
“As it pertains to our team, our approach is the same as it’s always been: next man up. We talk a lot about how critical depth is to a team because situations always arise where you lose players, whether by injury or other circumstances such as this one. One player’s absence is another’s opportunity. That approach has served us well in the past and we will rely on it now.”
Without Washington, the Cardinals are fairly thin at the inside linebacker position, especially since Karlos Dansby left for Cleveland in free agency.
Second-year pro Kevin Minter, who played just one defensive snap last season, is expected to start, with veteran Larry Foote possibly joining him.
Drug-related issues are not the only ones the linebacker is currently facing.
Washington pleaded guilty to an aggravated assault charge in March and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation in April stemming from an incident in May of 2013 with his child’s mother.
The felony charge would be reduced to a misdemeanor if Washington completes his probation.
According to the police report from 2013, Washington had paid a visit to the accuser’s apartment to see their baby, which was not out of the ordinary. However, at some point Washington left to take the baby to Dairy Queen, which upset the woman.
Upon Washington’s return with the baby, the report states he and his ex-girlfriend got into an argument, which continued as they reached the top of the apartment complex’s stairs. The report states that from there, as the woman asked Washington to return the baby to her, he pushed her away and would not allow her to get close enough to him to take the baby. The report goes on to say Washington, at some point, “extended his hand and grabbed” the woman by the neck before pushing her over to the landing railing while choking her.
The report says Washington eventually let loose of his grip and the woman was able to take the baby from him, but as she tried to close the apartment door behind her he shoved it open and “pushed his way in.”
The report says the woman’s injuries were consistent with her account of the events.
It was later found that Washington and his ex-girlfriend had cases in Maricopa County’s family court system.