The Arizona Cardinals will have to play the entire 2014 NFL season without their best linebacker, Daryl Washington, after his third suspension for drug-related reasons. His teammates have every reason to be irritated with Washington for letting them down after a promising ten win season gave this team playoff aspirations heading into the offseason. But not everyone feels that way.
Cardinals QB Carson Palmer told ESPN he would welcome Daryl Washington back to the team “with open arms.”
“I think this locker room understands guys make mistakes and some mistakes are more detrimental than others and hurt you more than others, but there’s not a doubt in my mind that everybody in this locker room. … I can’t wait to see him. I know he’s been through a lot and there’s been a lot of crazy things, but this locker room will give him a hug, you know, welcome him back and be glad to see him back.”
It’s a strong vote of confidence from one of the team’s leaders. Unfortunately for Washington, that sentiment hasn’t been as enthusiastically echoed by head coach Bruce Arians.
“We obviously hope that Daryl gets his life straightened out, but he also is very unaccountable to his teammates, the organization, the fans and everyone else,” he said.
Arians also noted that he didn’t think about any possible return of Washington to the team. For 2014 at least, the linebacker is not in the team’s peripheral, but should Washington return to the team in 2015, expect at least some of them to fondly welcome him back.