The Tim Hightower story is not done in New Orleans.
The running back, who resurrected his career last season, will re-sign with the Saints, a source told The Advocate on Friday.
Hightower, 29, appeared in eight games last season and rushed for 375 yards on 96 attempts (3.9 yards per carry).
He likely will be in the mix to serve as Mark Ingram’s top backup. Khiry Robinson fulfilled that role last season before he injured his leg, and he has since signed with the New York Jets.
Last year was Hightower’s first season in three years after suffering a torn ACL in 2011. His comeback was anything but routine.
An attempt to repair his knee was ineffective, and the Washington Redskins cut him before the 2012 season opener. He wasn’t the same player, and Hightower said he knew something wasn’t right.
He had some tryouts along the way, some more false starts, but he could no longer run like he did early in his career with the Arizona Cardinals.
Hightower bounced from doctor to doctor over the years but never found answers for why his knee was not acting like it was supposed to.
“To go from never missing a game, never missing a practice, being real durable, to ‘What’s going on with my body? Is this how I’m going to be the rest of my life?’ ” Hightower said before last season. “It was scary to not have answers.”
Hightower never gave up and kept going to doctors. Finally, they figured out that an infection was causing all the issues. Once doctors cleared it out, he got back on the comeback trail. The Saints gave Hightower a shot by signing him to a futures contract, and after cutting him twice last season, the veteran running back got back on the roster and stayed there.
Injuries to Ingram and Robinson gave him the chance to start late last season, and he seized the opportunity by averaging 21 carries and 81.8 yards over the final four games with four touchdowns.
Hightower will have to win his job again, but this time he enters camp as the front-runner for the backup job instead of the guy trying to prove he can still carry a football.