Ryan Grant had finished a workout and was close to signing a deal with the Chicago Bears when the Washington Redskins called with an offer he liked better.
"I was on my way to do a physical in Chicago," Grant said. "Agreed to Washington. Told the driver to turn around and take me to the airport."
Grant said arrived late Tuesday and signed with the Redskins on Wednesday morning, joining a banged-up backfield that didn't have a healthy alternative to rookie starter Alfred Morris.
Grant spent five seasons with the Green Bay Packers but has been looking for work the team opted not to re-sign him after last season. He rushed for 1,203 yards in 2008 and 1,253 yards in 2009 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the 2010 regular-season opener. He returned last year and ran for 559 yards, sharing the load with James Starks.
To make room for Grant, the Redskins placed running back Roy Helu Jr. on injured reserve.
Helu has been dealing with turf toe in his left foot since the season opener as well as two sore Achilles. He had only two carries for two yards and seven catches for 45 yards this season. He said the injuries kept him practicing at full-speed.
"I don't like not playing football," said the second-year back, wearing a protective boot on his left foot in the locker room. "I'm still processing sitting out a season."
The Redskins' only other running back, Evan Royster, strained the patella tendon in his right knee in Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. His status is uncertain for this week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.