Tim Hightower has come home.
The new Redskins running back attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., and played college football at the University of Richmond.
Now he is getting ready to play for the Redskins after he was acquired as part of a trade with the Arizona Cardinals on July 31.
"Growing up in this area, you can't help but watch the Redskins, so I know a lot about them. Or I think I know a lot about them – I'm going to have to find out," Hightower said. "To get a chance to come back and play at home is a childhood dream."
Hightower was drafted in the fifth round by Arizona in 2008. After three solid years with the Cardinals, he now has a shot at being the No. 1 back with the Redskins.
"I came here to play," he said. "I came here to win. And I came here to be great. I have an opportunity to do that, and I'm going to take advantage of it."
Hightower aims to improve the production out of a Redskins backfield that ranked near the bottom in the league last season at 91.3 yards per game.
The Redskins have a unique running scheme that features zone blocking up front.
"I'm a running back, and the Redskins run the ball a lot, so I'm excited," Hightower said of his new team. "A lot of the stuff I did in college with the zone schemes is pretty clear cut: going downhill and allowing the running back to be physical and really get into a rhythm.
"I like getting into a rhythm and getting in my groove, so I really feel like there's a lot of opportunity here for me."
Hightower has progressed in many facets of his game with the Cardinals, including blocking.
"When you play with Kurt Warner you have to learn how to pass protect," Hightower said of his former teammate in Arizona. "He likes to throw the football and he likes you to protect him. Coming in, I was kind of given an ultimatum my first year: either you block or you don't play. So, I think I picked that message up pretty quick."
For his career, Hightower has started 36 of 48 games and logged 1,733 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns on 439 carries. He had an 80-yard touchdown run last year.
Hightower has had eight fumbles in his career – four each of the last two seasons. It's an area of his game he is looking to improve.
"It's something that happens in this game, but you have to take pride in getting better at it," he said. "That's something I have done all offseason. I know I'm in the best shape of my life all around and that's something I really focus on in practice.
"I'm kind of a short term memory guy. Stuff happens, and I'm on to the next thing."
As a result of the trade, Hightower is leaving the wide open NFC West for the hugely competitive NFC East.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "That's my kind of football: grinding out tough, hard-nosed football. That's me. That's who I am. So, I'm going to embrace it."