Cards LB Washington banned for 1 year

Tempe, AZ ( - Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington was suspended without pay for at least one year by the NFL on Friday.

The lengthy ban is not related to his recent court case, but for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

"I recently learned that I had violations of the NFL Substances of Abuse policy related to marijuana," Washington said in a statement released through his agent. "The policy is very strict, and I have chosen to take responsibility. I am committed to making changes in my life that will allow me to return to the NFL as soon as possible."

Washington, who was sentenced last month by an Arizona judge to one year probation for an assault charge, missed the first four games of last season for a substance abuse violation.

The 27-year-old Washington started the remaining 12 games and finished with 75 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.

"It's completely unacceptable that Daryl has once again put us in this position," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said 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."

Keim said the team will take a "next man up" approach in dealing with the loss of Washington.

"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," he added. "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 has started 53 of the 59 games he has played over his four-year career with the Cardinals.