The 30-year-old said he’s excited about his next opportunity in the NFL and hopes to return to his All-Pro form from the 2012 season, in which he was also named to the Pro Bowl.
“I want to thank the Cardinals organization, especially Mr. Bidwell and Steve Keim for drafting and believing in me, and their continued support,” Washington said in a statement provided to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “We’ve had some really positive and productive discussions this week, and at the end of the day we mutually agreed it was best for both sides to get a fresh start. I’m in the best shape of my life, and very much look forward to the next opportunity, where I will again play at an All-Pro level and help my team make a championship run.”
The Cardinals were interested in bringing Washington back, but after Arizona drafted Haason Reddick in the first round, the two parties couldn’t come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, a source told Florio.
Washington was viewed as one the league’s top playmakers at the inside linebacker position prior to his suspension. He had 134 total tackles, nine sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception in 2012.
However, while Washington will likely garner some interest on the open market, he hasn’t played a snap in the NFL since the 2013 season. He’s also awaiting his full reinstatement from the NFL, which is expected to be determined later this season.
Washington’s presumed rust, coupled with the off-field issues that led to his suspension, means it’s a longshot that he returns to his pre-ban form, at least not straight away.
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