Tim Hightower was on his way to Flagstaff, Ariz., where the Arizona Cardinals were holding training camp when he got a call the call on Sunday. The fourth-year running back learned that he had been traded to the Washington Redskins.
“I had put the last of my stuff in the car and was getting ready for another year of being a Cardinal,” Hightower said on Tuesday. “But it came at the right time and I feel like I’m here for a reason.”
Now, Hightower is back on the East Coast and right in his backyard.
The Alexandria native starred at Episcopal High School and the University of Richmond before being drafted in the fifth round by the Cardinals in 2008. But on Tuesday, he began getting acclimated to the team he grew up cheering for, and the team that he hopes to eventually start for at running back.
Hightower believes that he is a good fit for Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme. When asked why, he offered a simple answer.
“I’m a running back and they like to run the ball a lot, so I’m excited,” Hightower said with a laugh.
He continued: “It really resembles a lot of stuff I did in college. The zone schemes are pretty clear cut, they get downhill and allow the running back to be physical. It will allow me to get into a rhythm. I consider myself a rhythm running back. I like getting into my groove and I feel like I have a great opportunity to do that here.”
In addition to his running abilities, the Redskins like Hightower’s versatility, particularly his pass-protection skills. He said the importance of that skill was instilled in early in his professional career.
“When you play with Kurt Warner, you’ve got to learn how to pass protect,” Hightower grinned. “He likes to throw the football and for you to protect him. That’s just something I’m used to. My first year I was given an ultimatum that you either block or you don’t play, so I picked that up pretty quick. Now it’s something I take pride in.”