When the Washington Redskins traded for Tim Hightower before the 2011 season, it looked like a great marriage of a one-cut, zone-running system and an under-the-radar back. Hightower tore his ACL in Week 7 against the Panthers and Roy Helu blew up down the stretch, so it seemed like it might be the end of things.

But it's not! Hightower is returning to the Redskins in 2012, according to Hightower and the Redskins.

Just in case you don't trust athletes on Twitter, the Redskins have since confirmed the signing, announcing Hightower's return as a "playmaker and a leader."

"You don't know for sure if a running back is a three-down back," Shanahan said. "Can he handle the blitz, can he run the football and catch the ball? "From what I've seen since he's been here, [Hightower] can do all three."

Hightower may need additional time to recover from his injury and Helu is still the better choice to start at running back. (Hightower only averaged 3.82 yards per carry for the Skins through five games.) But he'll apparently serve as a mentor in addition to carrying the rock.

"I appreciate Tim's leadership," Helu said.  "That's my man right there, and I count him in when I think about next season."

Mike Jones of the Washington Post believes there's a "good chance" that Hightower could end up becoming the starter again. The logic for giving Hightower the most snaps is that he could provide the most pass protection for rookie Robert Griffin III. Additionally, studies have shown in many instances that adding a mobile quarterback to an offense will increase the production of the rushing attack, so Hightower could see a boost in his stats next year.

And because we're talking about a Mike Shanahan team we're talking about, literally anything is possible with respect to the depth chart.