The New Orleans Saints announced Wednesday, Dec. 21 that running back Tim Hightower has been voted by his teammates as the 2016 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.
The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of neglected children and ending the cycle of abuse. The purpose is to raise awareness and help prevent child abuse. That objective is coupled with the Foundation's commitment to celebrating players of inspiration in the NFL. Since its inception the Foundation through its charter with the Courage House National Support Network for Kids, and an affiliation with the National Football League and Professional Football Athletics Trainers Society has helped to provide hope to countless children and raised millions of dollars.
The recipient is voted by teammates and bestowed annually upon the player who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration.
Hightower, 6-0, 220 pounds, was originally a fifth-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2008 out of the University of Richmond. In three seasons with Arizona from 2008-10, he carried 439 times for 1,733 yards with 23 touchdowns and also caught 118 passes for 801 yards.
In 2011, he was traded to the Washington Redskins and started the first five games as Washington's feature back, rushing for 321 yards with one touchdown and catching 10 passes for 78 yards with one touchdown before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Following the injury, Hightower was sidelined for three seasons due to various complications.
At the end of the 2014 season, Hightower signed a reserve/futures contract with the Saints and spent the 2015 preseason with New Orleans. He finally stuck with the club for good at midseason in 2015 and rushed for 375 yards and four touchdowns. In 2016, he's appeared in every contest and has carried 122 times for 490 yards (4.0 avg.) with three touchdowns, including two scored in his Week 15 return to Arizona, also adding 21 receptions for 189 yards (9.0 avg.) with one touchdown. In the past two seasons, due to a rugged rehabilitation process from his injuries as well as an ardent recovery routine, Hightower has never missed a game due to injury, as well as becoming one of the team's leaders in the locker room.