Daryl Washington has the chance to be a great inside linebacker. Daryl Washington has a better chance to be an unreliable talent tease.
This is not a case where Washington was walking around the house and tripped, falling into a pool of recreational drugs which caused one accidental positive test. According to the inner-workings of the NFL drug policy with the players, it takes at least two and sometimes three positive tests to even receive a four-game suspension.
This means there were probably four different moments in Washington’s life where he said, “I don’t care about the GM that drafted me, the coaches who coach me, the teammates who count on me and the family that relies on me, I’m going to break the rules with no regard for anyone else.”
I am not trying to start a debate on drugs and where they should be placed on the moral legal scale. It’s very simple. Within the rules of the NFL, it’s a crime punishable by suspension, but only after you’ve entered into the league’s drug programs while receiving numerous warnings for past transgressions.
Daryl Washington cannot be counted on in the future. If he was willing to violate the program on four separate situations in the past, why would you believe he won’t do it again? You can’t count on a player who’s missed 20 games in two years after already flunking at least two previous tests.
Coming clean, I really like the Daryl Washington that he presents to the media. He’s a very enjoyable guy in a public setting. I really root for him to get his life in order. I hope he earns a place right back in the NFL. I’m not even against him coming back to the Cardinals if he proves himself in the future.
It can’t be ignored, however, that this is a man who threw a woman to the ground in a fit of rage and cannot control his urges for recreational drugs. You can’t have that in a veteran player. Young players can’t be shown Washington as the example of what it means to be a Cardinal. Keeping him on the roster says exactly that. This is no longer a “mistake by a young man,” but a pattern of behavior that reveals a severe lack of character.
This is America. This is the greatest country in the history of the world due to the sacrifices of our founding fathers and our military. Daryl Washington deserves a second chance. He deserves a fifth chance. He also has earned dismissal before he receives the next chance.
I hope everything turns out well for Daryl Washington, but the Cardinals should let him figure out if being on a team and following the rules is important to him while he’s not on the team.