Nov 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington against the Indianapolis Colts at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Daryl Washington issues statement following year-long suspension

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Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington was suspended for one year after he violated the league’s substance abuse policy which Washington later admitted was for smoking marijuana, and the Cardinals star defender is owning up to his mistakes and says he’s committed to changing for the better.

In a statement released through his agent and the Cardinals official website, Washington, 27, admits to failing to meet the high level of maturity and accountability that is required of him and issued an apology for disappointing his teammates, coaches and fans.

“The Policy is very strict, and I have chosen to take responsibility,” the statement said. “I am committed to making changes in my life that will allow me to return to the NFL as soon as possible. I will work extremely hard to stay in top football shape, and will work equally as hard to ensure that my life off of the field meets the high level of maturity and responsibility to which I am committed.

“I sincerely apologize for the effect of my actions on my teammates, coaches and other colleagues at the Cardinals. I also apologize to Cardinals fans for the time I will miss. I will work diligently during this suspension and will return as a better man and football player.”

Washington may still face league discipline for pleading guilty following an assault charge after an altercation with the mother of his child.

When Washington is dedicated to the game and staying out of trouble, he has been a very good football player as evidenced by his 2012 season when he had 134 combined tackles, nine sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception and one fumble recovery when en route to making the Pro Bowl.

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