TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - The NFL suspended Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Daryl Washington on Wednesday for the first four games of next season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Washington made the Pro Bowl as an alternate last season. He led the Cardinals in 2012 with 140 tackles - 110 of them solo. He had nine sacks, 14 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, an interception, a fumble recovery and six passes defensed. Washington's nine sacks were the most by an NFL inside linebacker, and he also led the team in tackles in 2011.
He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and in preseason games.
A second-round draft pick out of TCU in 2010, Washington signed a six-year contract last September.
``I was always taught that when you make a mistake, you admit it, learn from it and face whatever consequences there are,'' Washington said in a statement released by the team. ``I take full responsibility and I understand that I let down my teammates, the organization and fans. I apologize for that and promise that no one will work harder to make up for it.''
Washington added in a tweet, ``I apologize to all my fans, teammates and to the Cardinals organization. I promise to work even harder and to not let you guys down anymore.''
Arizona's first-year coach Bruce Arians also issued a statement through the team.
``Adversity and dealing with it is part of the business but when it's avoidable like this was, it's particularly tough,'' Arians said. ``One of the biggest things we preach is accountability. Daryl knows that and our team knows that. We will deal with this and others will have to step up until he's back. I'm confident they will.''