Are we asking the right question about Daryl Washington?

Jul 15, 2015, 12:20 PM | Updated: 12:21 pm

In the Mel Gibson movie “Ransom,” the bad guy, Jimmy Shaker (played by Gary Sinise), is threatening to harm Gibson’s family if he isn’t given the ransom money he was promised. If Gibson tries to screw him over or involve the cops, Sinise promises Gibson will spend the rest of his life wondering in fear “is today Jimmy Shaker Day.”

I think of that line every time an announcement comes down from the NFL league office. Is today Daryl Washington Day?

I thought the Thursday before the Fourth of July weekend, when the NFL announced four different suspensions, might be Daryl Washington Day.

Or last week, when the Greg Hardy appeal results were released, might be Daryl Washington Day.

The guess here — and this isn’t exactly going out on a limb — is that if you eavesdropped on the conversations of 100 random Cardinals fans in a room somewhere, the main topic would be that of the suspended Cardinals linebacker.

By now you’ve likely gone over the Washington questions in your own head: When will he get reinstated, what is taking so long, how long will he be suspended for once he’s reinstated, will he appeal, how long will that take, do the Cardinals even want him back. And of course the big moral whopper — should the Cardinals want him back?

Here is the question that perhaps isn’t getting asked enough: Will Daryl Washington — the player — be worth all the fuss when he does come back?

On the surface it seems a silly question. The guy is a force of nature when he’s on the field. It’s easy to think that once Washington dons the jersey, just like that, presto-chango, he’s the wrecking ball he’s always been.

He missed all of last season, some of the year before. He hasn’t played in a professional football game since December of 2013. Hasn’t been practicing or working out with his teammates. Is it reasonable to assume he’s ready to be Daryl Washington after missing so much time?

It went down like that for Aldon Smith of the Niners. As pointed out in a story about Greg Hardy, Smith racked up 42 sacks in 43 games. But upon his return from a nine game suspension, he had two.

Cardinals fans may want the old Daryl Washington back, but the truth is no one is quite sure how close the new Daryl Washington will come to matching that.

And no one is quite sure if today, tomorrow or a week from today is going to be Daryl Washington Day.

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Are we asking the right question about Daryl Washington?