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Tim Hightower's long road to recovery

Tim Hightower's long road to recovery

When Tim Hightower poked his helmet into the Redskins huddle early in Saturdays 30-17 preseason victory over the Colts, he was greeted by a curious look from tackle Trent Williams.
He looked at me surprised, like, What are you doing in here? Hightower later said. Just that alone, that was priceless.
Indeed, it had been a while since Hightower had joined Washingtons huddle. Eleven regular season games and two exhibition contests, to be exact.
Hightower tore the ACL in his left knee in Week 6 last season and spent the 10 months rehabbing and dreaming about the moment his number would get called in an NFL game again.
That moment arrived late in the second quarter, when the 26-year-old burst through the line, juked a Colts defender and raced 18 yards down to the Indianapolis five-yard line.
I couldnt have scripted anything like that, he said. I was thankful for it.
The run was his first carry in a game since suffering the injury last Oct. 23 against the Panthers. Shanahan called for Hightower again on the next play, but he was stopped four yards short of the end zone. He finished with 28 yards on five carries.
Its been a long road, a long journey, Hightower said. I was just so thankful to be back and hear the fans, hear them screaming, hear them chanting.
Hightower conceded that his surgically repaired knee will likely feel sore Sunday morning. But he also said hes no longer worried about significant setbacks.
Its all right, he said. It will probably be a little sore later on. But it feels a lot better when you win.
Coach Mike Shanahan said his reservations about playing Hightower were eased during practice last week.
I was a little nervous, Shanahan said. I saw him get better during the week and I felt there was a chance he could play but I also thought it might be a long shot. Then I saw him a couple of days ago and he looked much better so Im glad he was able to get some playing time in there.
The coach added: I feel very good about his situation, getting about 13 or 14 reps in there and feeling good after the game.Hightowers return comes at a critical time in the competition for the Redskins starting job at tailback. Hightower is listed as first on the teams depth chart, but rookie Alfred Morris backed up an impressive training camp with a 107-yard performance against the Colts. And although Evan Royster sat out with a knee injury thats believed to be minor, the second-year running back is also in the mix.
Hightower is the teams most experienced and versatile option, but hes also been around long enough to know nothing is guaranteed. Asked if he had just proved hes all the way back, Hightower said: Yes and no. Yes, from the standpoint that Im out there, I have an opportunity, I have a shot. But from there, I know this is just the beginning, the foundation. I have a lot of work left to do, as this team does. But, hey, Im back in the game, back in the fight.
During his lengthy recovery and rehab, Hightower said there were mornings he woke up so sore he second-guessed himself. But those doubts began to subside in recent weeks and, after Saturday, might disappear altogether.
You always have doubts, he said. Youre going to have days when you wake up and you dont feel to good and you second guess yourself. But, ultimately, I believed. I had no choice. This is what I want to do.

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O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

We are nearing the start of the NFL Draft, less than three days to be exact, and right now there are a ton of names circling around whom the Washington Redskins should take at No. 13.

You’ve probably read countless mock drafts at this point (if you haven’t or need another here is ours), and there’s one thing that is consistent: nothing.

So let's concern ourselves less of ‘who’ and exactly what each player will bring to the Redskins.

There are very few evaluators of talent better than the NFL Network’s Charles Davis, so he got to talk with J.P. Finlay and Mitch Tischler on the latest edition of the Redskins Talk podcast.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST WITH CHARLES DAVIS HERE

He broke down EVERYONE that Washington could be taking at No. 13 overall. If you don’t have time to listen (which we highly recommend that you do), here are some of the highlights:

“This could be a wild first night,” said Davis. “All of these different trade scenarios are out there right? My experience has been that most of that calms down as we get closer. There’s a lot of discussion and chatter about it, but we don’t usually have it.”

REDSKINS NEEDS:

“At 13, when you’re really down to it, Mitch I think you had said to me even before we began ‘O-line, D-line man, let’s talk O-line, D-line,’ and I think that is the perfect place for this Washington team.”

VITA VEA, DT, WASHINGTON

“If Vita Vea from Washington somehow is sitting there at 13, and the idea that you could go up there and put him a line and get Jonathan Allen back from last year, I think that’d be a great place to go. This is a top-10, top-5 talent in this draft that possibly could still be around at 13.”

“When we’re talking about the people that are in our business, the talking heads that people kind of go to and kind of get held accountable for their mock drafts… you don’t really see Vea in any consistency in the top ten.”

“Eleven is kind of the breakpoint for him.”

MAURICE HURST, DT, MICHIGAN

“I like him. I don’t know that I like him quite that high.”

DA’RON PAYNE, DT, ALABAMA

“I like Payne, better than Hurst, but again I don’t know about quite that high.”

“The medical, you can’t help it when you’re talking about a heart. You can’t help but be a little bit concerned. Now he has gotten clearance, that has come through, but we all know that each team is going to do it’s own research and got to decide how comfortable they are with that.”

QUENTON NELSON, OL, NOTRE DAME

“I doubt he is falling to 13, because if somehow he falls to eight to the Bears and if the Bears don’t run up to the podium and plug him in, I’d be stunned.”

ORLANDO BROWN JR., OT, OKLAHOMA

“Normally when you have a combine and you have some things that you have some questions marks on, normally you have some balancers. Orlando Brown had zero balancers. Everything was historically bad.”

WILL HERNANDEZ, G, UTEP

“Now Will Hernandez has had about as good a postseason as an offensive lineman can have.”

“This kid Hernandez has become a massive road grater, quicker than you would think, better pass protector and he did all of this on an 0-12 team last year. So he is another guy to keep an eye on, especially if as you said they are able to move back.”

DERRIUS GUICE, RB, LSU

“I’d be surprised at 13.”

“Get back to 19 and then I think Guice is in play at 19. If that indeed is the runner that they like. I think the running back renaissance is real.”

JOHN KELLY, RB, TENNESSEE

“I think this John Kelly kid from Tennessee is a really good runner. He had a little trouble off-field last year, missed a game because of all that, but this kid runs hard, plays hard, he’s not Alvin Kamara… but this kid is more of a pure running back than Kamara is, he’s just not a bulky guy.”

TRADING BACK

“They’re in a tough spot because of the number. We’ve got all of this stuff now.”

“That’s a tough one, because if I’m Dallas and I want to come up and get my guy [Calvin Ridley], I don’t need to come up as high as 13 anyway, if you really think about it.”

BILLY PRICE, OL, Ohio State

“He’s a really good player. The kid played guard, he played center. Price is a really good technician. 44 a possibility? Possibility. Before the injury he was going late-first, early second.”

This is only scratching the surface of what the expert talked about. Get the full experience and listen to the full podcast.

MORE DRAFT COVERAGE:

- SEVEN ROUND REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT

- ODDS ON FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICKS

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Why the Redskins should be hoping Tremaine Edmunds falls in their lap

Why the Redskins should be hoping Tremaine Edmunds falls in their lap

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the first episode above and more here.

When the NFL Draft comes around, you'll hear fans and analysts often say, "If Player X makes it to pick No. __, then Team Y should sprint to the podium to pick him."

Well, this Thursday, if Player X is Tremaine Edmunds, the pick is No. 13 and Team Y is the Washington Redskins, the Burgundy and Gold should sprint to the podium only if there's no other option to get there quicker. 

While the 'Skins already have two talented linebackers in Zach Brown and Mason Foster on the roster already, taking the Virginia Tech teenager shouldn't be ruled out. Now, the only problem is that Edmunds has to slide that far in the 2018 draft; the majority of mocks have him going before that spot.

Edmunds is the type of do-it-all LB that is especially valuable in today's NFL. He has the athleticism and ability to fit on the inside or outside, and is just as comfortable rushing the passer as he is in coverage. You know that issue the Redskins have when it comes to covering tight ends, the one that's lasted for like a decade now? Edmunds would help erase it, along with a host of other problems.

"They don't come like him," one NFC scout told NFL.com about Edmunds. "I don't think there has ever been a linebacker that has had his size and speed."

Redskins fans, go outside and start searching for your four-leaf clovers now. Last year, the franchise got lucky and landed Jonathan Allen. This time around, they're going to need even more of it to secure Edmunds. 

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