Daryl Washington is a Pro Bowler and one of the Cardinals’ best players. But right now, he’s a backup just trying to prove himself.
Washington is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, and he was also arrested in May and accused of assaulting his girlfriend. New Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said after that arrest that Washington is walking a very thin line, and Washington said the coaches have made clear with him that he’s practicing with the backups until they’re confident they can count on him.
“I’m not frustrated at all because I understand why it’s happening,” Washington told the team’s website. “It’s not unexpected. I talked to [linebackers] coach Mike [Caldwell] and [defensive coordinator] Todd [Bowles]. You understand. And when I get back, I need to prove myself all over again.”
Washington said he’s doing everything he can to prove himself during training camp. He’ll be with the team through the end of the preseason, then he’ll be gone for the first four weeks of the regular season. He’ll be allowed to return in Week Five.
“Right now I’m staying positive,” Washington said. “I know I’m going to miss the first four games the regular season, but I want to get as much work as I can and being in my playbook and getting work on the field so when I come back I’m not too rusty.”
Working hard in training camp is the only way for Washington to earn a spot back in the starting lineup when his season starts in Week Five.