1:01pm: Washington has released a statement through agent Jordan Woy (Twitter link), confirming that his suspension was related to failing a drug test for marijuana.
“I am committed to making changes in my life that will allow me to return to the NFL as soon as possible,” Washington said, apologizing to his teammates, coaches, and the rest of the Cardinals for his actions.
12:17pm: Linebacker Daryl Washington has been suspended for at least a year, the Cardinals confirmed today in a press release. Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports first reported earlier today that Washington was facing a suspension that would last the entire 2014 season. According to the club, Washington’s suspension is a result of another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, and is unrelated to the linebacker’s recent plea bargain for an assault charge.
“It’s completely unacceptable that Daryl has once again put us in this position,” said Cardinals GM Steve Keim in a statement. “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.
“As it pertains to our team, our approach is the same as it’s always been: next man up,” Keim continued. “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.”
Washington, who was previously suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, will forfeit his $2.9MM base salary and $100K in workout bonuses for the 2014 season. The Cardinals also appear likely to attempt to recoup a portion of the signing and option bonus money they’ve paid out to the 27-year-old.
With Washington out of the picture, free agent signee Larry Foote seems to be the likeliest candidate to assume a starting role at inside linebacker. The club also figures to consider adding another veteran to the roster, having recently worked out Ernie Sims. As our list of free agents shows, Pat Angerer, Jonathan Vilma, and Dan Connor are among the other inside linebackers still available.