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Saints running back Tim Hightower (34) is brought down by Saints middle linebacker Stephone Anthony (50) during the Saints training camp practice Thursday in White Sulphur Springs, WVa.

For the second time in his career, the New Orleans Saints represent an opportunity for Tim Hightower. 

Hightower, who resurrected his career from the dead in 2015 with the Saints, spent 2017 out of football after the San Francisco 49ers cut him at the end of training camp. 

Now, Hightower's back in New Orleans, trying out with the Saints during the team's minicamp this week. New Orleans obviously has Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara in the backfield, but the Saints wanted to take a close look at Hightower this week. 

New Orleans also tried out veterans like Terrance West and Jamaal Charles on Wednesday, but Hightower opted to go through all three days of practice. 

"I had a good conversation with Coach Payton, I know the situation," Hightower said. "They've got a good room here. ... I know what the opportunity is here, but I also have the familiarity with the system and offense. ... I know Coach Payton. He'll shoot me straight."

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Hightower has come back from the street before. A torn ACL in 2011 while he was playing for Washington knocked him out of football for three full years, only for Hightower to return and rush for 923 yards over two seasons with the Saints. 

He signed with San Francisco as a free agent and expected to contribute, only to have the opportunity ripped away. 

"I didn't expect it, man," Hightower said. "I'm at a different point in my career. I think the first time I was out, I had to think about 'hey, is this it? What's next? And then when you get back, you don't know exactly how long. I had an idea of how long I wanted to do this thing, and then you go out again, you've got to revisit the whole conversation again."

At 32, Hightower still feels good, and he believes he'll be able to help an NFL team for the next two or three years. 

"I want to win a championship," Hightower said. "My body still feels strong and healthy, so as long as I still can pursue that at a high level and contribute to a team, I'm going to go for it."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.