Tim Hightower's vision of returning "home" to emerge as a star for the Redskins came to an end with the running back's release Friday.
The former Richmond star was acquired from Arizona last year and appeared to be a good fit for the Redskins' zone-blocking scheme. But he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in October and didn't return to full contact until last week.
In the meantime, Roy Helu and Evan Royster flashed as rookies last season, and sixth-round pick Alfred Morris vaulted himself into the backfield mix with an excellent preseason this year. Morris could potentially open the season as the starter with Helu and Royster battling their own injuries in recent weeks.
Hightower was the best pass-blocker of the bunch, but his knee reportedly flared up after getting five carries against Indianapolis.
"It's been a roller coaster," Hightower recently said of his recovery from knee surgery. "You really wake up each day, you don't know how you're going to feel."
The Redskins were pursuing a trade for Dolphins running back Steve Slaton in exchange for Anthony Armstrong, but that deal did not materialize and Armstrong was waived.
The Redskins also waived offensive tackle Willie Smith and quarterback Jonathan Crompton amid a series of transactions required to reduce the roster from 75 to 53 from 9 p.m. ET Friday.
Crompton was released for the second time this week -- he was re-signed the first time, perhaps a trial balloon to see if he was claimed by another team. Since he was not, the Redskins could plan to bring Crompton back as a member of the practice squad when such transactions are permitted by the NFL beginning Saturday.
Smith, 25, started three games as a rookie in 2011 and has played left tackle and right tackle. He started two games in the 2012 preseason -- Aug. 18 at Chicago and Aug. 29 against the Buccaneers. He's likely to draw interest from teams in need of depth, such as Houston and the New York Jets.
The Redskins also parted with center Erik Cook, cornerbacks Travon Bellamy, David Jones and Brandyn Thompson, nose tackle Marlon Favorite, defensive end Doug Worthington, offensive lineman Grant Garner, defensive linemen Darrion Scott and Delvin Johnson, linebackers Bryan Kehl, Markus White and Donnell Holt, offensive lineman Tom Compton, tight end Richard Quinn, offensive tackle Willie Smith and wide receiver Terrence Austin.
Running back Tristan Davis and fullback Dorson Boyce was waived/injured, while linebacker Brian McNally was waived with an injury settlement.