Despite the fact that the Cardinals added yet another running back to their stable this offseason when they drafted Ryan Williams in the second round, Tim Hightower was ready to return to the desert for his fourth year. Those plans all changed when he got a call letting him know he was traded to the Washington Redskins. The ‘Skins traded a future draft pick and veteran defensive end Vonnie Holliday in exchange for the former fifth round pick out of Richmond. After having to split carries with Chris “Beanie” Wells and dealing with some fumbling issues, Hightower will now get a fresh start right in his own backyard, playing for the team that he grew up rooting for.
Mike Shanahan has a knack for finding gems to tote the rock and with the quarterback situation being so shaky in Washington and with Ryan Torain spending so much time on the trainer’s table, Hightower may finally get the shot that he always wanted in Arizona.
Tim Hightower joined XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix with Bickley and MJ to talk about how it felt to play his first preseason game for the Redskins, how different the fans are in Washington compared to Arizona, whether or not Washington’s scheme fits his style better, if he feels more wanted by Washington given the fact that they traded for him, and how he felt when the Cardinals drafted another running back this offseason.
How it felt playing his first preseason game for the Redskins:
“A lot of emotion. Just being from that town, driving by that stadium a lot of times trying to avoid the traffic to the games, and then to actually be a part of it, it was pretty special.”
How the fans are different in Washington compared to Arizona:
“It’s completely different. You have diehard fans no matter win or loss. You’ve got people so excited everywhere. You’ve got Redskins banners everywhere, flyers and stuff everywhere, and it’s just a different feeling. I appreciate Arizona and I feel like we had some good fans in Arizona but you can just tell the history of the team and it’s a completely different atmosphere.”
On the offense and how it fits his game:
“It really fits my game. It’s a lot of stuff that I did in college. It really compliments the running back from the standpoint of it allows you to attack the line of scrimmage. I’m the type of back where if I can get going and hit the line of scrimmage with speed and not have to stop a lot and stop and start a lot. It really gives me a chance to kinda get into a rhythm and find holes in defenses and exploit weaknesses.”
Whether or not he feels wanted by the Redskins because they traded for him:
“I definitely do feel wanted. I do feel like I’m a major part of this offense. I feel like I’m contributing in a major way and I feel like they brought me here for a reason. Not to do my job, to help the team win, but I feel like they have a lot of confidence in me so going into that already that helps me out a lot as a player where you know your coaching staff believes in you. You know your team believes in you. You know they feel they can get it done. From there it’s a responsibility that I put on myself to do just that.”
If Washington was a place that he was considering:
“It was. It was definitely. For the main reason that I wanted to be in a place that fitted me, I wanted to be in a place where I could flourish, where I could be a leader, where I could help a team win, and help a team go to a Super Bowl and compete at a high level. That’s something I felt like Washington had. Their system and style of play, I felt like it complimented my style of play very well. That was something I definitely looked at. I didn’t really know how high the possibilities were but when the door opened I obviously walked through it.”
Whether or not he thought he found it awkward that the Cardinals drafted running back Ryan Williams in the second round:
“I did. Beanie and I are very close. He’s actually a very close friend of mine, but right after my first year when they drafted him I was a little bit upset at first. I didn’t understand why. I didn’t understand the nature of the business and how things work. I kinda took it personal. I felt like it was a knock against me and they were calling me out. We went to the Super Bowl and I had a fairly decent year, but I felt like that was a knock on me. Then when this last one took place right before a contract year for me I kinda felt like it maybe was time for me to start looking elsewhere and maybe my time was up.”