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NFL suspends Cardinals LB Daryl Washington four games

Oakland Raiders v Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 17: Running back Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders rushes the football past linebacker Daryl Washington #58 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of the NFL preseason game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 17, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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The NFL has suspended Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington for the first four games of the 2013 regular season.

Washington, who started all 16 games last season and was chosen to the Pro Bowl, has been suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He will be able to participate in offseason work and the preseason but will then have to stay away from the team for the first four weeks of the regular season.

The league offers few details and does not confirm which substance players tested positive for when it confirms suspensions, but as we noted with the suspension of Baltimore’s Christian Thompson, a suspension under the substance-abuse policy happens only after the player violates the policy multiple times. So Washington must be a repeat offender.

Washington acknowledged the suspension and apologized in a statement released by the Cardinals.

“I was always taught that when you make a mistake, you admit it, learn from it and face whatever consequences there are,” Washington said. “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.”

The Cardinals drafted Washington out of Texas Christian in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. He became a starter as a rookie and had his best season last year, recording 134 tackles, nine sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.