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Arizona Cardinals Hurting at Inside Linebacker Position

June 1st, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Steve Smith

As the Arizona Cardinals headed down the stretch of the 2013 NFL season, they had two of the best lnside linebackers in the NFL on their roster.

'cardinals021' photo (c) 2007, theSuperStar - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington.

Now they have none.

Dansby, who led the Red Birds with 122 tackles last season, took his talents to Cleveland in March via free agency.

Washington was suspended on Friday for the entire 2014 NFL season for again violating the league's substance abuse policy, the NFL announced. Needless to say, Arizona general manager Steve Keim was not happy.

"It's completely unacceptable that Daryl has once again put us in this position," Keim said in a statement via espn.com. "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."

The TCU product missed four games in 2013 for a previous violation. He also was facing another suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy after he was arrested in May 2013 on two counts of aggravated assault after a confrontation with his ex-girlfriend. Washington pleaded guilty to those charges in March and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation in April.

Washington registered 81 tackles in 12 games last season (third best on the squad) with three sacks and two interceptions. His suspension begins immediately and he will forfeit $2.9 million in salary due to the suspension.

Washington's suspension puts the Cards in a real bind now at the ILB position. Free agent veteran linebacker Ernie Sims has been in for a visit and this will no doubt put added pressure on second-year linebacker Kevin Minter to step up after barely playing at all in 2013.

"As it pertains to our team, our approach is the same as it's always been: next man up," Keim stated in the release. "… One player's absence is another's opportunity. That approach has served us well in the past and we will rely on it now."

Now is the time for the Red Birds to part ways with the talented but troubled Washington.

In the end, he's just not worth the aggravation.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Daryl Washington, Ernie Sims, Football, Karlos Dansby, Kevin Minter, NFL, Steve Keim

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