NFL reinstates Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington after 3 years

Posted at 2:59 PM, Apr 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 20:49:16-04

After three years, the NFL has reinstated Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington, and he reportedly plans to play during the 2017 season.

Washington, who was suspended for the entire 2014 season for his second substance abuse violation and continued to be suspended due to subsequent violations, has been reinstated on a conditional basis by the NFL.

"Washington may join the Cardinals at the training facility and participate in meetings, conditioning work and similar activities," the NFL said in a statement. "Once arrangements have been confirmed regarding Washington's clinical resources in Phoenix, he will be permitted to participate in all preseason activities, including practices and games.

"Prior to the start of the regular season, the NFL will review Washington's progress. Based on his compliance and engagement with his program and resources, he will be permitted to participate in all regular season activities beginning in Week 1. He will be evaluated later in the season for full reinstatement."

The Cardinals selected Washington in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He recorded 108 tackles and nine sacks in 2012 when he was selected to the Pro Bowl.

In a statement to ProFootballTalk, Washington said he's "honored and humbled" to be reinstated and said he's ready to play in the NFL again.

"These last three years have been the most difficult of my life without the game I love so much. That said, I've used this time to make tremendous strides as a man and have grown into a proud husband, father, and contributing member of my community," he told ProFootballTalk.

"Physically I'm in the best shape of my life and have maintained a strenuous six-day per week workout plan for over a year in anticipation of this day and next season. I understand the physical and mental demands that it takes to be an All-Pro linebacker in this league, and I fully intend to play at that level next season."

The Cardinals, however, said they will take their time in deciding what Washington's role, if any, will be with the team next season.

"Considering we have been prohibited from having any contact with him over the last three years, it would be premature today to discuss a potential return to the team," the Cardinals said in a statement.

"As everyone is aware, the 2017 NFL Draft is just days away and that is where our energy and attention is fully focused right now. At the appropriate time, we will address the issue of Daryl Washington further."

The 30-year-old Washington was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season as a result of his first substance abuse violation. Also in 2013, he was arrested in Phoenix on two counts of aggravated assault stemming from an altercation with his girlfriend.

According to Cardinals insider Darren Urban, Washington's contract should revert to its 2014 terms, meaning Washington would still be under contract with the Cardinals for the next four years.

"It's my understanding that Washington's contract 'tolled' on his suspension -- essentially meaning his suspension suspended his contract as well -- which means if Washington were to be reinstated, it would revert to his 2014 terms," Urban wrote earlier this year.