The Washington Redskins rushed for more than 100 yards in each of their final six games – something they hadn’t done even once in their previous six games. During that span, rookie Roy Helu ran for 100 yards three times, and fellow rookie Evan Royster did so twice.
Watching all this on television? Veteran Tim Hightower, who began the season as the starter but was lost for the season after he tore ligaments in his knee in a Week 7 loss at Carolina.
“They’ve done great with what they’ve been given, and with the talents that they have,” Hightower said of Helu and Royster. “But in the same sentence, I know who I am. And I know my capabilities and what I can do, and I know what I bring to a football team.”
Hightower said this as he is in the throes of rehabilitation, a process that won’t truly be over until he plays in a preseason game next fall. He also said it knowing he is a free agent. He is uncertain as to whether the Redskins want him back, but the native of Prince George’s County and graduate of Alexandria’s Episcopal High is absolutely positive that he wants to return to his hometown team. He was acquired in a preseason trade with Arizona for veteran defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday.
“Very important,” he said. “I love this organization, and coming back here, I didn’t realize exactly how much it would mean to me coming back here, and getting the chance to play here, and just kind of being around your family, go places around the fans and this city, it was special for me. This is something where I would like to play here for a long time. It would mean a lot to be back here.”
In five games, Hightower ran 84 times for 321 yards, a 3.8-yard average. Helu led the team with 640 yards on 151 carries (a 4.2-average), and Royster gained the most yards per carry – 5.9 yards – of any back on the team, though he ran the ball just 56 times.
Hightower said he wanted to talk to Coach Mike Shanahan about his prospects here, but he also has work to do before he can justify a new contract.
“Right now, my focus is on rehab, and that’s what it’s got to be,” Hightower said. “It wouldn’t be right for me to start talking contracts right now when my knee’s not nowhere near where it needs to be. I think when all that rehab stuff is done, and all the rest and all the food is in my body, I think the contract is going to take care of itself.”
Hightower is infamous for not believing in the timetables set for him by doctors following injuries. His focus: training camp.
“I don’t believe in the timelines,” he said. “I didn’t ask any target dates. I know I’ll be ready to play by the season starts. I know I’ll be 100-percent full speed.”