Remember Daryl Washington?
I'll be completely honest: I didn't when his name was first mentioned. It's been three seasons since he last played in the NFL. But now there's a reason to remember his name, or at the very least reacquaint yourself with him.
Washington was conditionally reinstated by the NFL on Tuesday after a three-year absence due to repeated violations of the league's substances of abuse policy. As is the case with Martavis Bryant, Washington's ability to play in actual games is dependent on additional reviews.
"Washington may join the Cardinals at the training facility and participate in meetings, conditioning work and similar activities," the NFL said in a statement. "Once arrangements have been confirmed regarding Washington's clinical resources in Phoenix, he will be permitted to participate in all preseason activities, including practices and games.
"Prior to the start of the regular season, the NFL will review Washington's progress. Based on his compliance and engagement with his program and resources, he will be permitted to participate in all regular season activities beginning in Week 1. He will be re-evaluated later in the season for full reinstatement."
There's a decent chance that the Cardinals won't even want him, though. The Cardinals released their own statement in which they didn't exactly sound enthused about his return, even though he's still under contract with them:
"The National Football League today informed of us of Daryl Washington's conditional reinstatement," the Cardinals said in their statement. "Considering we have been prohibited from having any contact with him over the last three years, it would be premature today to discuss a potential return to the team. As everyone is aware, the 2017 NFL Draft is just days away, and that is where our energy and attention is fully focused right now. At the appropriate time, we will address the issue of Daryl Washington further.
That's a fair point: They haven't talked to him in three years and Washington is 30 now. He isn't the same player he was when the team picked him in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He made the Pro Bowl and was named second-team All-NFL in 2012 after a 108-tackle, nine-sack season, but that was when he was 26.
And then there are his issues away from the field. Washington was suspended indefinitely in 2014 for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Furthermore, he still hasn't been disciplined by the league after he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in 2014. So, he could face even more punishment from the league.
There's no doubting that Washington once was a promising prospect and a good linebacker. But those days are likely over. That doesn't mean a team won't take a chance on him and won't allow him to prove that he's still got something left in the tank, but at this point, we should only believe it when we see it.