Tim Hightower rushed for 321 yards in five starts with the Redskins before tearing his ACL last season. The former Cardinals running back was traded to the Redskins last July and had his season end way too quickly before it ever even started. The biggest question surrounding Hightower is how his knee will react to full contact once again. No.39 looks to compete with Roy Helu for the starting job in Washington, but will surely benefit from the dynamic play of rookie Robert Griffin III if he were to start. Here’s Hightower’s thoughts on his comeback tour in the nation’s capital. Tim Hightower joined 106.7 The Fan in DC with Lavar Arrington and Chad Dukes to discuss the progress of his knee rehabilitation, not changing his style of running coming off knee surgery, having a better opportunity to succeed with Robert Griffin III as a potential starting quarterback and signing a one-year deal to remain with the Washington Redskins.
How’s the rehab coming?
“Good. Good. It’s…I am definitely on the better end of it. I’m able to do some things on the field now with running around and cutting. You know getting back to doing what I do. It’s definitely a good feeling.”
Are you going to have to change the style of running back you are now coming off the knee surgery?
“Absolutely not. Absolutely not. This biggest thing I guess from – this is my biggest – It was tough on me from the standpoint of you know I am a hard worker. A lot of people out there are hard workers. A lot of people out there push their bodies and they dedicate themselves to their craft and what they do, but it’s the things when you approach things that you haven’t necessarily faced yet. Mentally it may just be a little bit more channeling. The biggest thing for me was the confidence factor. It was hard making the transition from always use to being active. I’m always use to being active and doing something like working out every single day, committing myself to getting better every single day and when you get to the point where you’re now told you can’t do anything. Well you’re not told, but you’re forced to relax and sit back and kind of let the healing process take it’s toll and now you gotta reboot and kind of get back into that mode to where you’re fearless to where you know you are out there doing everything. You just gotta tell your body and tell yourself that hey you can do this and tell yourself to trust it and just go out there and do what you do best. I guess that is the part where I am. So fear really isn’t a factor anymore with me.”
Do you feel like you’ll have a better opportunity this year with Robert Griffin III as the quarterback?
“That’s not guaranteed. I’m optimistic from that standpoint that he is very talented and he’s a playmaker. Anytime you are around playmakers it’s not going to do anything, but help, but that is not guaranteed. I don’t think I made my decision based off anyone else versus any other player per say. It was more of me and sometimes you understand being a player you gotta make the decision that are the best for you. This system was a great system for me. The coaching staff was a great coaching staff. The fan base. The community. It was good for me. Again I did build that great relationship with Mike Shanahan and I felt like it was going to be a great situation and a great fit. I liked the direction they were heading in and I think that was the majority of the reason why I made the decision and I’m glad that it worked out here. The RGIII thing and the rest of the guys they brought in? That is just a bonus on top of it.”
Is the contract with the Redskins a one-year deal? Multi-year deal?
“It was in my best interest to do…well not mine…it was in both parties best interests just to do a one-year deal. It’s one of those things where I am never going to bet against myself. I am always going to bet for myself. I just need an opportunity. I don’t want to have to worry about down the road. Each year will take care of itself. I need an opportunity to get back out there and play football and get some confidence and let people know that hey this thing is behind me, so I could move forward from there. I think it will work out for both parties in the long run.