Running back Ryan Grant was in Chicago en route to a physical with the Bears when he issued a request to the driver: turn around. Grant had just received and then agreed to a deal with Washington and needed to get to the airport and not a doctor’s office.

With Roy Helu on injured reserve and Evan Royster banged up, the Redskins needed another player at this position. Enter Grant, who rushed for 4,016 yards in five seasons with Green Bay. But he’s been out of work since training camp opened.

Grant, who ran the stretch zone in Green Bay, said he had talked to Washington off and on in recent weeks.

“I feel there was an opportunity, absolutely,” Grant said. “With the zone scheme, I have that comfort level. I know Chicago… I felt I was a better fit here.”

Grant said he was initially surprised he couldn’t find work until now. He’s started 51 games in the NFL, but he missed all but one game in 2010 thanks to torn ligament in his right ankle. His best season came in 2009 when he rushed for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Grant said Mike Shanahan’s history with running backs and the presence of Robert Griffin III factored in his decision. He didn’t say whether or not the Redskins also offered more money.

“I had opportunities,” Grant said. “I was just looking for the right one.”

Shanahan said they reached out to former Redskins running back Tim Hightower, but his surgically-repaired left knee is still bothering him. Shanahan said Hightower might need arthroscopic surgery.

As for Grant, Shanahan said, “He fits with what we do. He is big and fast and he has some experience. He is a very sharp kid who picks things up very quickly. I think he is a guy in a couple weeks’ time probably could learn the system fairly quickly and help us.”