PHOENIX — Maricopa County Superior Court Judge M. Scott McCoy sentenced Cardinals inside linebacker Daryl Washington to one year of supervised probation for his guilty plea to a charge that he assaulted a former girlfriend, who is also the mother of his daughter.
The sentence was no surprise since lawyers from both sides had agreed to recommend probation, but Washington still could face further punishment from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Four years ago, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for six games (later cut to four) following two allegations of sexual assault for which he was never arrested or charged with any crime. In that light, it will be interesting to see what happens to Washington, since he was arrested for aggravated assault and pleaded guilty.
Washington, 27, pleaded almost nearly a month ago in Maricopa County Superior Court to aggravated assault after a May 1 argument with the woman. Authorities say Washington choked the woman and caused her to fall, at which point she broke her right collarbone.
Investigators said the argument arose out of a visit that Washington paid to his daughter at the apartment where the child’s mother lives. They said the mother panicked after Washington left the apartment with the child to go to a restaurant and wouldn’t answer her calls to his cellphone.
Once the child was back at the apartment, police said, Washington left with the mother’s cellphone, prompting her to run after him and strike his vehicle with a hand-woven basket. Washington shoved the woman as she tried to run toward the driver’s side door of his vehicle, causing her to hit the ground and break her right collarbone, police said.
Under terms of the sentence, if Washington shows good conduct during the probationary period, the felony will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Washington was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He finished the season with 75 tackles (59 solos), three sacks and two interceptions.
If Washington misses time, the Cardinals could be in a major bind after losing inside linebacker Karlos Dansby in free agency. Dansby was brought in last season in part because the Cardinals knew Washington was going to miss some time.
Kevin Minter, the club’s 2013 second-round pick, will be given first crack at filling Dansby’s spot. Kenny Demens and JoJo Dickson are the only other inside linebackers listed on the roster, but Lorenzo Alexander, who played outside last season, also has experience playing inside.