The Arizona Cardinals will be without the services of linebacker Daryl Washington when the 2013 season begins.
The NFL announced Wednesday that Washington has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
He will be eligible to return to the team's active roster on the day after their fourth regular season game.
"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."
He also tweeted:
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.— Daryl Washington (@DWashington58) April 3, 2013
Thank you for your continued support as I get through this matter.— Daryl Washington (@DWashington58) April 3, 2013
It's a big loss for the Cardinals, but Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians hopes his player learns from this.
"Adversity and dealing with it is part of the business but when it's avoidable like this was, it's particularly tough," he said in a statement. "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."
Washington, 26, was a Pro Bowl alternate who got to play in the game after posting 134 tackles -- 108 solo -- and nine sacks in 2012. For his career, the former second-round pick out of TCU has accumulated 319 tackles, 15 sacks and four interceptions.
He signed a six-year, $32 million contract extension prior to the 2012 season and was due a $10 million roster bonus this year, but ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando reports the bonus was renegotiated last month so that it comes due in 2014 instead.