NFL Nation: Ernie Nevers

Tim Hightower was driving from Phoenix to Arizona Cardinals training camp in Flagstaff when the call came from coach Ken Whisenhunt.

The Cardinals, having used a 2011 second-round draft choice for running back Ryan Williams, were trading Hightower to the Washington Redskins. Hightower will naturally have extra incentive to play well when his former team visits FedEx Field in Week 2, but not out of vengeance.


"In this business, I’ve seen a lot of things take place, and there weren’t any bitter feelings," Hightower told reporters Wednesday. "It wasn’t anything negative. I have nothing but a great deal of respect for Arizona. I have a lot of good memories with Arizona."

Hightower grew up in Alexandria, Va., and went to Episcopal High School there. He also played at the University of Richmond.

"A lot of thoughts and emotions -- excitement, some sadness, just a lot of emotions all at once," Hightower said of his mindset following the trade.

The 10 rushing touchdowns Hightower scored during the Cardinals' 2008 Super Bowl season were the most since Donny Anderson finished the 1973 season with 10. Johnny Roland had 10 for the Cardinals' 1967 team. Lane MacArthur, Ernie Nevers and John David Crow are the only players in franchise history with more than 10 in one season. Seasons were shorter when they played.

Arizona might have held onto Hightower had the team known Williams would suffer a season-ending knee injury during preseason. The timing worked out well for Hightower, however, because he got the trade news before showing up for camp. That was important to him because it spared Hightower from committing fully for another season, then abruptly withdrawing.

Beanie Wells carried 18 times for 90 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals during their opening-week victory over Carolina. That was the second-highest total for Wells' career. He rushed for 110 yards against Detroit as a rookie in 2009.

"There was a lot of hype around him coming in to replace me, us splitting roles, being at each other's throats and kind of divided," Hightower said. "But it actually ended up being a close relationship, one of the closest relationships that I’ve had to this day. I learned a lot from Beanie, and I feel like he learned a lot from me. We challenged each other, we pushed each other, and I think he made me a better player."

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Jay Cutler would have been "all wrong" for the 49ers. Cohn: "He is not a winner, has a losing career record: 17-20. Did you know that? You don't build a winner around a loser. He has a big mouth and he sulks. He has a reputation for being undisciplined and for coming unglued precisely when a quarterback is supposed to stay glued. Say what you will about [Shaun] Hill's limitations, he is supremely poised -- poise is his main virtue. The Broncos gave up on Cutler precisely because he's immature bordering on goofy and unstable."

David Fucillo of Niners Nation wonders if Dashon Goldson will stay healthy long enough to realize his potential as the 49ers' free safety.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with the Cardinals' cheerleading tryouts because, hey, someone has to do it. This handy photo gallery is probably setting an NFC West offseason record for page views.

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 looks at some of the greatest fullbacks in Cardinals history. Ernie Nevers, Ollie Matson, Jim Otis and Larry Centers are part of the conversation.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams made a smart move in signing Kyle Boller as a backup quarterback. Looking ahead to the draft, Miklasz sees evidence the Rams will select an offensive tackle with the No. 2 overall choice. At the same time, can they really go into the season with Keenan Burton as a starting receiver?

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Boller's deal with the Rams, initially reported as a two-year contract, is really for one season.

Turf Show Times' Tackle Box examines the Rams' running backs while looking at available free agents and potential late-round draft prospects. The conclusion? "So, at this point, I really want the Rams to take a strong and long look at Warrick Dunn. I think with him in the fold, the Rams' offense becomes absolutely powerful. Plus, adding him takes away from our lack of experience at the WR position since you'd have the possibility of Steven Jackson, Warrick Dunn, and Randy McMichael running routes which would definitely keep defenses honest and should free up Donnie Avery deep."

Dan Arkush of Pro Football Weekly says Seahawks defensive line coach Dan Quinn is "very excited" about the team's versatility at defensive tackle. Arkush echoes the general feeling that Seattle will not seriously consider a defensive tackle with the fourth overall choice in the draft. The Seahawks have not drafted a defensive tackle among the top 20 overall choices since selecting Sam Adams eighth in 1994. The team has drafted five defensive linemen in the top 10: Steve Niehaus (1976), Jacob Green (1980), Jeff Bryant (1982), Cortez Kennedy (1990) and Adams. All but Niehaus played in at least 167 regular-season NFL games.

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