Saints give Hightower futures deal

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints signed veteran running back Tim Hightower to a reserve/futures contract -- giving him a chance to resurrect his career after a lingering knee injury -- according to a league source.

Hightower, 28, hasn't played since undergoing ACL surgery in 2011. The former Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins starter tried to come back with the Redskins in 2012 but didn't discover until the fall of 2013 that a lingering infection was stunting his recovery.

Hightower worked out for the Saints in November before they opted to sign veteran Brian Leonard instead as a short-term injury replacement. Hightower told ESPN Redskins reporter John Keim this past summer that he finally felt fully healed again and was hoping teams would turn their "curiosity" into a physical and a workout.

"That's all I ask," Hightower said at the time.

The 6-foot, 220-pounder has 2,054 rushing yards, 879 receiving yards and 25 total touchdowns in the regular season in his four-year career. He also ran 70 yards for a touchdown in Arizona's playoff loss to the Saints in 2009.

Hightower is the second injury-plagued veteran the Saints have taken a chance on in the past week. They also signed former New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles safety Kenny Phillips, who hasn't played since 2012 because of nagging injuries.