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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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Mic picks up Packers trainer telling Cowboys' Tony Romo 'you deserve better'

Mic picks up Packers trainer telling Cowboys' Tony Romo 'you deserve better'

When longtime Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo lost his starting job to rookie Dak Prescott, there was general consensus that Prescott won the job fair and square when Romo got injured.

Romo himself said as much. But there are still people around the NFL who feel Dallas didn't do right by their 10-year starter. 

As Romo was leaving the field after the Cowboys lost to the Packers in the playoffs, Pepper Burruss, Green Bay's director of sports medicine, approached him. A microphone picked up Burruss saying what sounds like, "You deserve better." 

Take a listen. 

It's possible Burruss could have meant something else, like Romo deserved better injury luck. Maybe. 

Also keep in mind that Romo may have been leaving the field as a Cowboy for the final time of his career. What a note to leave on...

The 36-year-old has said he still wants an opportunity to start in the NFL. That won't happen in Dallas, so it's likely he'll move on to another team this offseason. 

According to Adam Schefter on ESPN Radio, the Cowboys may be willing to trade Romo to the team of his choice. 

Speculation has linked him to the Broncos, Bears, Jets and Texans.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins interviewed internal candidate for DC

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The Final Countdown: Ranking the Redskins 10 worst plays of the season

The Final Countdown: Ranking the Redskins 10 worst plays of the season

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 10 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Bears Week 16

6:35 left in Q1, Bears ball 3rd and 18 at their own 22, Redskins leading 7-0

Matt Barkley pass deep middle to Deonte Thompson to CHI 40 for 18 yards (Deshazor Everett).

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Tandler: This was not an important play in the grand scheme of things. It was early, the Bears didn’t end up scoring on the drive, and the Redskins won easily. What was frustrating about this play was the symbolism of Barkley, a third-string quarterback, completing a third and very long play with a pass to Thompson, who caught all of 22 passes in 16 games. And it was very easy.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: The Redskins defense struggled to get off the field on third downs, and nothing illustrated the big picture problem better than Barkley's long completion. That Barkley was laregly awful that game - he threw five interceptions - makes this play stand out that much more. Probably one of the reasons for Joe Barry's departure, third down defense must get better in 2017 if the 'Skins are going to return to the playoffs. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!