One of the indications of a stable franchise is the practice of re-signing it’s own players in free agency. It proves that players will choose the familiarity of their team over other potential suitors. It proves that the team is producing and developing talent worth bringing back.
And it also justifies the price that it cost to bring certain players in.
On the eve of last year’s training camp, the Redskins executed a trade to bring in Cardinals’ running back and Episcopal product, Tim Hightower. After an exciting preseason, Hightower was just hitting his regular season stride when a bad cut against the Carolina Panthers left him on injured reserve.
As a pending free agent, Hightower was a regular at the facilities, rehabbing a torn ACL and showing coaches that he’s committed to a strong return. At age 26, he presumably still has quality years left, and head coach Mike Shanahan told gathered media in Palm Beach, Fla. that a reunion was a strong possibility (via Rich Campbell of the Washington Times): Read more »
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Redskins running back Tim Hightower was honored yesterday for his athletic contributions to his alma mater by being inducted into the University of Richmond Hall Of Fame.
Hightower holds the all-time records at Richmond for most yards rushing in a game (295 at Bucknell 9/27/07), season (1,924 in 2007) and career (3,712). He is also the top scoring back in Richmond history, with 20 in 2007, and 34 in his career.
A particularly fitting element of his induction speech was his appreciation to the Spiders staff for giving him an opportunity (and scholarship) even after he was injured in his final season at Episcopal High School (via John O’Connor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch):
“It seemed like the end of the world,” Hightower said. A scholarship was his ticket to a college education. “Where am I going to go?” Hightower asked himself. For a while, there was no answer.
He started getting phone calls from Jim Reid, the University of Richmond’s coach at the time, and Jeff Hanson, one of Reid’s assistants. They visited Hightower in Alexandria.
“The next thing you know, I’ve got a scholarship to the University of Richmond, which I knew nothing about,” Hightower recalled on Saturday, when he was inducted into the UR athletics hall of fame.
“It truly was a blessing. I went from this kid who was very unsure of his future, had no clue what the next day held, to being a kid with a support system, with a coaching staff, with teammates, who helped me become somebody who people respect.”
Interestingly, Hightower finds himself in a similar situation going into free agency this offseason. Teams that had previously been following his contract season closely were certainly disheartened by his injury in Week 7 against the Panthers.
Now, no matter where he ends up, Hightower has announced that he intends to be ready for the start of training camp this season. Although there are some good and bad days, he also reported that his rehab is going well (via the Richmond Times-Dispatch):
“You have those days when you wake up and you’re a little sore, and you’re thinking you’re not doing better. And then you go out there and do something functionally that you couldn’t do last week. That lets you know you’re progressing.”
“I don’t know how to throttle down. I don’t know how to back off,” said Hightower, Washington’s leading rusher (321 yards on 84 carries) before suffering the torn ligament in his left knee.
Hightower also told reporters that he hopes and expects to be back in Washington next year, keeping him close to his Alexandria, Va. home.
Congratulations to Tim on the well-deserved honor after a dazzling Richmond Spiders career.
Tags: Episcopal High School, tim hightower, University of Richmond, washington redskins
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