Daryl Washington rejoins Cardinals

Updated: September 30, 2013, 8:17 PM ET
By Josh Weinfuss | ESPN.com

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington is slated to return this week after a four-game suspension and head coach Bruce Arians isn't wasting any time getting the Pro Bowler involved.

Arians said Monday that Washington will start Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at University of Phoenix Stadium, most likely alongside current starter Karlos Dansby at inside linebacker.

"I'm not surprised but sometimes you expect the unexpected," Washington said. "You never know what's going to happen in this league, but I think with what I've shown over the years it only makes sense."

Washington hasn't officially been reinstated, which will take place when the Cardinals add him to the 53-man roster. As of Monday afternoon, that had yet to happen. Washington was suspended April 3 for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Without him, the Cardinals went 2-2 and established the league's second-best rushing defense. But Washington hasn't been far away. Under new NFL rules, Washington was allowed to work out at the team facility and attend attend team meetings. He wasn't allowed to practice, however.

"Mentally, he should be up to speed," Arians said. "Physically, he's in great shape, so it's just a matter of playing football again, so we'll get him out there and get him ready."

Washington said his workouts during the past four weeks felt like he was training for the NFL scouting combine. He thinks Wednesday's practice will be a good indication of what kind of football shape he's in, but, Washington added, any rust that's built up having missed a month should be knocked off after a couple of series on Sunday.

Washington, a 2012 Pro Bowl selection, believes he can return to that level of play even though he missed four games. Despite being suspended, Washington is still eligible because he violated the league's substance-abuse policy and not its steroid policy.

"I think I'll have to come back really strong," Washington said.

However, the speedy linebacker may not be able to outrun another suspension next season.

Washington is facing another multiple-game suspension in 2014, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The suspension would stem from charges of an alleged domestic incident with an ex-girlfriend last May in which he was accused of breaking her collarbone.

The case still is in the courts and is not expected to be resolved this season, another source told Schefter. Washington's next court date is Oct. 9 for a pretrial conference.

Once the case is resolved, more discipline is expected for Washington next season.

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter contributed to this report.

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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