Sometimes, all anyone needs is a second chance. That’s the approach that Daryl Washington is taking as he works to find an NFL home again. Washington was reinstated by the league April after being suspended in May of 2014 for multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
After being out of football for three years, the former Pro Bowl linebacker was released by the Arizona Cardinals in May where both sides decided it was in everybody’s best interest to start fresh.
One place where Washington could get that fresh start is in Dallas and the Cowboys could be the perfect landing spot for him.
In recent weeks, the former TCU and Irving High star has been relishing the idea of playing for his hometown team speaking about it during a recent interview with Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.
“I love the game, I love the Cowboys and I love the DFW community,” Washington told Mike Fisher on May 24. “I hope there is some way I get a chance to show that.”
If there is one owner in the league who is not afraid to take chances on players with off-field issues, it’s none other than Jerry Jones. Jones has a history of taking chances on players with various off-field issues.
Even though Washington and the Cowboys have yet to talk, making a call to Daryl Washington should be the next move for Jerry Jones.
From a pure football perspective, Washington was one of the best inside linebackers in the league prior to the suspension. In his best pro season in 2012, Washington finished with 134 tackles, 9 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception and was a consistent playmaker in his four seasons in Arizona. And although the Cowboys linebackers haven’t been hit as hard as the rest of the defense in free agency this offseason, they could use the depth at linebacker.
Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens are two of the mainstays at the position and even with positive reports so far indicating good progress, nobody knows what to expect of Jaylon Smith just yet. Washington could be that extra playmaker that the Cowboys could use if they find themselves bitten by injury again.
The question is: how long would it take him to get back into game shape? According to Washington, it wouldn’t be long, telling multiple people that he’s “in the best shape of his life.” Also, would the Cowboys be able to trust him? After substance abuse issues and a domestic violence case in Arizona, the Cowboys would need to do their due diligence and give him that chance.
One thing that is clear with Washington: He is motivated to get back on the field any way that he can. In fact, he sends a pretty clear message to Jerry Jones in an interview with Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.
“Come on Mr. Jones, you’ll be glad you took a chance on me,” Washington told Williams. We’ll hold up that Lombardi Trophy together.”
Could Daryl Washington be the missing piece to help the Cowboys win their first Super Bowl in over 20 years? It’s hard to answer that question in early June. That said, it would be in the Cowboys best interest to find out.
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