The Cardinals were dealt a serious blow on Wednesday when they found out they’ll be without inside linebacker Daryl Washington for the first four games of the 2013 regular season.
Washington was suspended by the league without pay for those games for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Washington can return to the active roster on the day after the team’s fourth regular-season game.
Despite the suspension, it’s not a total loss. Washington can still participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.
“Adversity and dealing with it is part of the business but when it’s avoidable like this was, it’s particularly tough,” head coach Bruce Arians said.
“One of the biggest things we preach is accountability; Daryl knows that and our team knows that,” Arians said. “We will deal with this and others will have to step up until he’s back. I’m confident they will.”
Washington released a statement as well shortly after finding out about the suspension.
“I was always taught that when you make a mistake, you admit it, learn from it and face whatever consequences there are,” Washington said.
“I take full responsibility and I understand that I let down my teammates, the organization and fans. I apologize for that and promise that no one will work harder to make up for it.”
It’s a serious shot to the Cardinals defense to lose the heart and soul of their group in Washington. Last season he led the team with 140 tackles and nine sacks, and represented the Cardinals in the Pro Bowl.
Right now the Cardinals have Jasper Brinkley, Reggie Walker and Colin Parker as the only inside linebackers on the roster.
This may be a time where the team considers re-signing Paris Lenon, Washington’s inside partner from last season. Lenon’s currently a free agent.