Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers agree to terms with RB Tim Hightower

Apr 1, 2017 at 9:34 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to terms with running back Tim Hightower, general manager John Lynch announced on Saturday.

Hightower appeared in Super Bowl XLIII with the Arizona Cardinals. In July of 2011, he was traded to the Washington Redskins and went on to start the first five games of the season. During those starts, Hightower rushed for 321 yards on 84 carries with two total touchdowns. He also added another 78 yards in receptions. However, a torn ACL would end his season and it seemed, to some, perhaps his career.

In 2012, he re-signed with Washington on a one-year contract but was unable to make the final roster. NFL teams inquired about the running back, with some working him out, but he simply was not healthy. Hightower ended up missing three NFL seasons due to an infection in his surgically-repaired left knee. At times, the infection caused so much discomfort, that Hightower was unable to do anything for up to a week.

"It was my first major injury. I had never had surgery; I had never missed a game or a practice before then," Hightower said. "So to go from that to, 'What's going on with my body? Is this how I'm gonna be for the rest of my life?' It was scary. It was scary."

In 2015, one team gave Hightower another chance – the New Orleans Saints. He had spent three years away from the NFL following his injury. Over the past two seasons – both with New Orleans – Hightower has played in 24 games and started four. In those games, he has carried the football 229 times for 923 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. Hightower, a backup running back for the team, was considered to be a leader in the Saints locker room.

A number of players who have been signed by the 49ers have some sort of connection to head coach Kyle Shanahan or his coaching staff. The 6-foot, 200-pound Hightower is no different. He played one season (2011) in Shanahan's offense while the 49ers head coach was the offensive coordinator in Washington.

Hightower, 30, was a fifth-round draft pick by Arizona in 2008 after playing college football at Richmond. During his senior year, he set school single-season records with 1,924 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. Hightower's 137.4 yards per game ranked sixth in the nation.

In two games against Shanahan's Falcons last season, Hightower carried the football six times for 48 yards and a touchdown while backing up Mark Ingram. While starting the final game of the 2015 season against Atlanta, Hightower rushed for 66 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown.

Over his entire NFL career, Hightower has carried the football 752 times for 2,977 yards and 32 touchdowns. He has also racked up 162 receptions for 1,208 yards and two touchdowns over that timeframe.

In a November 6 game against the 49ers at Levi's Stadium, Hightower carried the football 23 times for 87 yards and a touchdown in a 41-23 Saints victory.

Other running backs currently on the 49ers roster include Carlos Hyde, Mike Davis, Raheem Mostert, and recently re-signed DuJuan Harris. Shaun Draughn, who was also with the 49ers in 2016, signed with the New York Giants.

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