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Shanahan: Hightower A Target To Return

Posted by Brian Tinsman on March 29, 2012 – 12:07 pm

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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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Hightower Working Out Again After Rescue

Posted by Brian Tinsman on March 21, 2012 – 4:36 pm

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Free agent running back Tim Hightower had been working out around the facilities, rehabbing his leg and getting strong before the start of free agency.  Now, he’s back in Arizona, and reportedly had a mountain hike end in rescue, late last week.

According to FOX-10 in Pheonix, Ariz., Hightower and wife Krista were stranded on Camelback Mountain after getting lost close to dark.  Rather than trying to hike down in the dark, Hightower did the smart thing and called for help from local authorities.

Reports were that neither of the two were hurt, but perhaps a tad embarassed.  Thank goodness for invasive news reports (which I’m passing along to you).

Redskins fans hoping for a reunion in free agency will be pleased to know that Hightower was back to working out today, in Arizona.  He tweeted a few motivational messages and showed evidence of him cutting on his surgically repaired knee: Read more »

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Hightower Honored As A Richmond Great

Posted by Brian Tinsman on February 21, 2012 – 2:27 pm

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.

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Injured Redskins Players Back In The Mix

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 2, 2012 – 5:45 pm

Open locker room on “Black Monday” is generally headlined by quiet, somber reflection for the teams and players that don’t make the playoffs.

But for injured players, this is the first time that many of them have been permitted to sit in on team meetings and team functions.  Rather than feeling like outsiders looking in, this is an opportunity for these players to stand alongside their teammates and look forward to next season.

“As a player who hasn’t produced for my team for what feels like forever, I’m really excited about starting over and moving forward,” tight end Chris Cooley said.  “Today is good for me because it feels like I’m back to the team.”

This was a fairly common sentiment in the locker room today, as injured players like Cooley, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Leonard Hankerson, and Tim Hightower all showed up to meet with coaches and clean out their lockers.

One advantage that the injured players have over their teammates is that they have already reflected on the disappointments of the 2011 season.  For Cooley, today was the first day of his preparation for the 2012 season, and it’s something that he was encouraging his teammates to do as well.

“I think a fresh start’s probably good for everyone right now, in terms of record and in terms of what we have going on right now,” he explained.  “I don’t think it sounds daunting, we just need to get back to work.”

After a quick shower and change into his sweatpants, he told teammate Logan Paulsen that he was off to go get in a workout.  From the sounds of it, we can expect to see Redskins No. 47 back on the field in 2012.

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That’s A Wrap: One Giant Victory

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 18, 2011 – 4:11 pm

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Happy holidays, from Eli Manning, to the Redskins’ defensive backs.

That say it’s better to give than receive, and Manning gave three different Redskins takeaways.   When three-quarters of the starting secondary has an interception in the game, it usually bodes well for the team as a whole.  The Redskins offense capitalized with 10 points off of those turnovers.

For the fifth-consecutive week, the Redskins went over 300 yards of total offense, including 121 yards on the ground.  Although this is the first week in four chances that Helu didn’t crack the century mark, it was the fourth consecutive start for the rookie, and the fourth consecutive week that the team had over 100 yards.

Helu is also proving that he can be a workhorse in the backfield, carrying the ball 20-plus times for the fourth consecutive week, the first time that a Redskins back has done that since Week 5-8 of the 2008 season (via @granthpaulsen).  Since he’s been the starter, the team has shown a renewed commitment to the run, something that we haven’t seen since Tim Hightower’s success early in the season.

Altogether, there were more than 78,000 Giants faithful here at kickoff, with a very sparse sprinkling of Redskins fans.  The trickle of fans  into the parking lot started at the beginning of the fourth quarter and turned into a flood with seven minutes to go.  In the waning moments of the fourth quarter, there were fewer than 10,000 fans remaining, most of them frozen to their seats or jumping around in jubilation.

This game was a opportunity for a Giants’ statement game, a chance to avenge a Week 1 loss and keep pace with the Cowboys for the division crown.  Instead, it was the Redskins that made the statement, putting an exclamation point on the Week 1 victory.  After a dismal middle of their season, the Redskins have clearly embraced the role of road warrior and spoiler down the stretch.

After the Week 1 victory, Giants safety Antrel Rolle stated that the Giants would beat the Redskins “95 times out of 100.” Earlier this week, he reiterated his theory, upping his ante to 99 times out of 100.

Good thing he covered himself and didn’t guarantee 100 out of 100, because then he would have been wrong.  By giving the Redskins a 1 percent chance of victory, he saved himself from looking foolish on gameday.

There are a number of reasons why the Redskins lost six-straight earlier this season–some which are more obvious, and some which we will never know.  But this team has had a different mentality over the last five weeks, finally rolling on all cylinders with the roster that they have available.

There have been growing pains and disappointments, but this is a team with talent and a team with heart.  Showing up today and battling for the win was well-deserved and a job well-done.

That’s all from East Rutherford, as the Redskins come away with the win: Washington 23, New York Giants, 10.

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Seattle In The Rear View Mirror

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 28, 2011 – 11:32 am

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The Redskins have finally awoken from their bye week slumber, grabbing their first win since Oct. 2, a span of 56 days.  To put it in perspective, here’s a few other ways of measuring how long it’s been for the team:

  • They’ve made 26 changes to the active roster (and not all of them have involved Brandyn Thompson).
  • They’ve traveled approximately 7,733 miles on road trips.
  • They’ve had six other games, 22 team practices, and more than a dozen additional walk-throughs.
  • They’ve celebrated two major corporate holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving), and spent almost all of Mo-vember.

It’s been a long time coming, it was a hard-fought battle, and it’s a win that everyone can share in and enjoy until Wednesday.

The Redskins proved a lot of people wrong with yesterday’s win, including every NFL prognosticator except for Mark Schlereth, and we’re here to give Stink his due credit.  On a more global perspective, they also surpassed the deflated expectations of ESPN The Magazine and Phil Steele’s NFL Magazine, both of whom predicted a 3-13 inept finish for the Redskins.  They’ve spent a long time searching for that fourth win, but it’s always nice to prove the doubters wrong.

Yesterday also wrapped up a dominant season series against the NFC West, against which the Redskins finished 3-1, beating Arizona, St. Louis, and Seattle.  Sure, these three teams have 10 combined wins, but those are the games that the Redskins were expected to win, and they did so.  It would have been nice to pull out a win against San Francisco, but there’s no shame in losing to one of the best teams in the NFC, if not the whole NFL.

No shame in beating them either, but you take what you can get.

One unexpected byproduct of this rough patch has been witnessing the emergence of several young playmakers on offense and defense.  With the loss of Chris Cooley for the season, the Redskins were able to confirm what they thought they knew about tight end Fred Davis.  With the loss of Santana Moss, the Redskins were able to get a look at both Niles Paul and Leonard Hankerson, who showed tremendous development during their rookie campaigns.  With the loss of offensive guard Kory Lichtensteiger, the Redskins were able to look at seventh-rounder Maurice Hurt, who has been more than serviceable at guard.  With the loss of Tim Hightower, the Redskins were able to get a look at both Roy Helu and Evan Royster in the backfield.

Helu showed yesterday that he has the dual-threat ability to be an offensive catalyst, getting 30 touches for 162 yards and a long touchdown run.  The instant success that he and his fellow rookies have had is just a testament to the scouting and player development behind April’s draft.  Early, premature indicators suggest that the 2011 Redskins draft class could go down as one of the best.

In between buying holiday gifts this Cyber Monday, enjoy a few game stats from Victory Monday: Read more »

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Hightower: Hopefully, I’ll Retire Here

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 18, 2011 – 1:10 pm

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When the Redskins traded for Tim Hightower in training camp, it was a win-win situation.  The team was looking for a playmaker in the backfield that could spark the Shanahan offense.  The player was looking for an opportunity to prove his value as an NFL starter in the final year of his contract.

Fortunately, it looked like a good match.  Unfortunately, it ended prematurely with a season-ending ACL tear in Week 7.

Yesterday, Hightower caught up with the media in the locker room, to discuss surgery, the Redskins running game before and after his injury, as well as his wishes to return to Washington: Read more »

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Adam Coles Named First Of Tim’s H.H.H.’s

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 8, 2011 – 2:08 pm

Last week, Redskins running back Tim Hightower named the first of his “Hightower Hometown Heroes,” which recognizes superior high school football players that are leaders and role models off the field.  On Sunday, Adam Coles of Potomac High School was the first such player to be recognized, and was Hightower’s guest to the Redskins-49ers game.

Coles (5-9, 165) is a junior running back and defensive back for Potomac High School.  His budding career, in his own words:

“I play running back mostly, but I can catch screens out of the backfield,” he said.  “Yesterday, I just reached 1,000 yards rushing on the season, in the last game of the season.  I had two four-touchdown games, and my highest rushing game was 222 yards.  So far, I have 12 touchdowns.”

“Right now, we’re 8-2 and playoff-bound.  We’ll be going to the playoffs this Saturday, at home, against West Lake.”

Coles found out about the H.H.H. initiative after his athletic director recommended it to him.  He said that he wrote the essay, submitted his information, and there he was on the sidelines with Hightower. Read more »

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Redskins Runway Owns The Night

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 3, 2011 – 11:39 am

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At last night’s third annual “Walk This Way” fashion event in support of Becky’s Fund, members of your Washington Redskins cut up the runway in support of domestic violence education and prevention.

DeAngelo Hall, Brian Orakpo, Anthony Armstrong and Gary Clark tried their hands at modeling, while Tim Hightower offered his support from the sidelines.

Yours truly was in attendance to catch the action and offer poorly-informed critiques.

Armstrong kicked off the quartet with a simple, stoic approach:

Gary Clark represented The Posse with a dapper gray suit and a big grin, earning a huge applause from the crowd.  It’s great to know that the man is still a legend in this town, 20 years later:

I got a chance to speak with Hall before he went backstage, and he talked about the importance of preventing domestic abuse.

“It’s a cause that I think needs a lot more attention, nationally, and I jumped at the opportunity to get involved,” he said.  “Clinton Portis brought it to my attention last year, and I immediately jumped on board.  This year, it was a no-brainer.  I grabbed a couple of my teammates to come down with me.”

Knowing that Hall can clean up well, from seeing him on road trips and the Welcome Home Luncheon, I asked him if he would be strutting the catwalk as well.

“Yeah, yeah, unfortunately I am,” he said, modestly.  “They asked us to come out and do something, and we had to come down and give them a little something.  I’m gonna show off a little something that they have made up for me.”

Entrance music?  Right said Fred?

“I dunno man, I don’t think I got to pick my own,” he said with a laugh.  “If I had my pick, it would definitely be something hot, but I’ll make it work with whatever they put on.  I’ve walked a time or two before, so hopefully I don’t look too crazy.”

Here’s the grizzle fashion vet:

And then there was the catwalk rookie, Orakpo.  Orakpo has never blinked on third down, never found a left tackle he couldn’t beat, and never left a punishing hit undelivered.  But backstage, he solicited some pointers for the fashionistas, with pretty good results.

Here he is, rocking the scarf and flashing the open jacket:

It was a great night for the Redskins and fashion, and it was done in the name of a cause that needs champions.  The mission of Becky’s Fund is to foster awareness, encourage advocacy, promote activism, and create support for the victims of domestic violence.  One of every three women is affected by it, and the runway last night featured three doors to symbolize this statistics.

With the funds raised from the event, Becky’s Fund will be launching an unprecedented program, endDV, that will fundamentally alter the way domestic and dating violence resources are provided.  endDV is a social and mobile platform combining technology and digital media to raise awareness while empowering victims and community members with the necessary tools and knowledge to address and prevent abusive situations.

Follow the initiative on Twitter (@EndDV), support Becky’s Fund, and never be afraid to do what’s right.

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Redskins Work The Runway Tonight

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 2, 2011 – 3:46 pm

Tonight, at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Redskins Anthony Armstrong, Tim Hightower, Brian Orakpo and DeAngelo Hall will adorn the runway in support of “Becky’s Fund,” which helps promote awareness and prevention of domestic violence.

The event runs from 6:30-10 p.m. tonight, and will feature fashion, food, and a star-studded attendance.  Other VIP guests that are planning to attend are:

Capitals: John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Nick Backstrom

DC United: Ben Olsen

Former Redskins: Gary Clark

Former Jets: John Booty, Marvin Jones

Boxers: Lamont Peterson, Anthony Peterson

Mayor Vincent Gray, DC Council Chair Kwame Brown, DC Councilman Michael Brown, DC Councilman Harry Thomas, and more! Read more »

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