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Cardinals’ Washington Will Miss First Four Games of NFL Season

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington, who led the team with 134 tackles last year, will miss the first four games of the 2013 season without pay for violating the National Football League’s substance-abuse policy.

Washington, 26, whose suspension was announced yesterday, will be allowed to return to the Cardinals’ active roster on the day after the team’s fourth regular-season game, the league said.

“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 on the team’s website. “I take full responsibility and I understand that I let down my teammates, the organization and fans.”

Washington, a 2010 second-round pick in the NFL draft out of Texas Christian University, signed a six-year contract in September.

“Adversity and dealing with it is part of the business, but when it’s avoidable like this was, it’s particularly tough,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said in a statement. “One of the biggest things we preach is accountability.”

Washington, a Pro Bowl alternate who led all NFL inside linebackers with nine sacks last season, is eligible to participate in offseason and preseason practices and games for the Cardinals, who went 5-11 in 2012.

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