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Hightower Returns As A Playmaker, Leader


The Washington Redskins announced today that they have re-signed unrestricted free agent running back Tim Hightower.

In a corresponding roster move, the team also waived tight end Rob Myers.

Hightower, 25, returns for his fifth NFL season in 2012 and his second with the Redskins after joining the team via trade during the 2011 offseason.

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan spoke glowingly of Hightower's ability to contribute as a runner, a receiver out of the backfield, and the pass protector on offense.

"You don't know for sure if a running back is a three-down back," Shanahan said.  "Can he handle the blitz, can he run the football and catch the ball?

"From what I've seen since he's been here, [Hightower] can do all three."

In 2011, he started the first five games of the season, totaling 321 yards on 84 carries with one rushing touchdown. He also added 10 receptions for 78 yards and recorded the first receiving touchdown of his career.

In addition to the things Hightower did on the field, he became the de facto backfield leader and a mentor to his younger teammates. 

That role took on added meaning after he tore his ACL in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers.

"I appreciate Tim's leadership," Helu said during the first week of voluntary conditioning this spring.  "That's my man right there, and I count him in when I think about next season."

Even after his placement on the season-ending injured reserve, Hightower remained a presence at the facility and on the sidelines at home games.

Prior to joining the Redskins, Hightower (6-0, 222) played three seasons for the Arizona Cardinals, the team that originally selected him with a fifth-round (149th overall) pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

In his time with the Cardinals, he rushed 439 times for 1,733 yards (3.9 avg.) with 23 touchdowns. He also had 118 receptions for 801 yards (6.8 avg.) and helped the Cardinals to a Super Bowl berth in his rookie season in 2008.

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