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The next Tim Hightower? Saints sign ex-Colts RB Vick Ballard

The New Orleans Saints caught lightning in a bottle last year when they signed veteran running back Tim Hightower -- who had been out of the NFL for three years -- and helped him resurrect his injury-plagued career.

They would love to do the same with running back Vick Ballard, who has signed with the Saints.

Ballard, 25, began his career with the Indianapolis Colts but has played in only one game since 2012 because of a series of major injuries. He tore his ACL in 2013 then tore his Achilles in 2014. The Colts reluctantly let him go last September after a series of hamstring injuries.

Ballard (5-foot-10, 224 pounds) had a terrific rookie season with the Colts in 2012 after being drafted in the fifth round out of Mississippi State. He ran for 814 yards and two touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 152 yards and another touchdown.

Ballard will face an uphill battle in an overcrowded Saints backfield. As I wrote earlier this week, the Saints have more quality candidates than they have room for with Mark Ingram, Hightower, Khiry Robinson, C.J. Spiller, Marcus Murphy and Travaris Cadet. However, Hightower and Cadet are unrestricted free agents, Robinson is a restricted free agent, and Spiller's future with New Orleans is uncertain after he played so sparingly in 2015. So it will be interesting to see how the backfield shakes out this offseason.