- "Here's to good friends living large in Texas. Texas Forever."
- -Tim Riggins, Pilot
Tim is described as a character "who has puppy-dog, lady-killing eyes under his scraggly bangs." He is the fullback/running back of the Dillon Panthers and the best friend of Jason Street. He is the ex-boyfriend of Lyla Garrity and Tyra Collette, with whom he has an off and on relationship and may end up with after the finale.
Through high school, Tim had a reputation as a womanizer. He copes with many of his problems through promiscuous sex and heavy drinking. He often shows up to practice and events drunk or hungover. Tim starts his relationship with Lyla behind Jason's back; she is still dating Jason when she starts hooking up with Tim. After Jason is paralyzed, both Tim and Lyla have a hard time coping and they turn to each other for comfort which leads to a sexual relationship. After Jason finds out, he punches Tim and their friendship becomes rocky for some time before Jason ultimately forgives Tim. The players even turn their backs on Tim for what he has done, but end up forgiving him as well after Tim plays injured in a game.
Tim is not very good at academics. Although he isn't stupid, he likely doesn't care enough to put the work in and often coasted through school by having the rally girls do his work. Mrs Taylor finds this out and puts an end to it, and Coach Taylor makes sure Tim knows he must do his work as well because if he doesn't pass he won't play.
Tim has a rocky relationship with the Panthers running back Smash Williams due to the fact Smash has a big mouth. They end up becoming close friends as the seasons and years go on. Tim is based on Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund) from the film. Both Tim and Don have rocky relationships with their fathers. Both are very good players and heavy partiers.
Tim experienced a notable transformation throughout the series, changing from an immature kid only concerned with partying, drinking and sex to a kind and reliable friend.
At the beginning of the season, Tim is shown having the time of his life in the summer, doing what he does best - partying and drinking. He seems to have a renewed interest in the single Lyla, who, thanks to her newfound Christian faith, does not seem to think of him very highly.
School starts and Tim doesn't get along with the new Panthers football coach, Coach McGregor. After walking out on practice, Coach McGregor worked him so hard upon his return that Tim ended up being hospitalized for exhaustion. Coach McGregor is eventually fired and Coach Taylor resumes his position.
Tim ends up going with Jason on a trip to Mexico where Jason wants to get a surgery not legal in the United States in order to walk again. When Tim hears the details of the dangerous surgery - which involves injection by shark blood - he becomes worried and asks Lyla to come down. With her help, they ultimately talk Jason out of it and help him see that his life is still worth living even in a wheelchair.
When they return to Dillon, Coach Taylor doesn't let Tim back on the team, unimpressed with the way he ignored the team and his responsibilities as a player. It is only after he apologizes to every player and helps a friend of Lyla's get on the team that Coach grudgingly allows him back.
Billy starts dating Tim's ex-girlfriend, Jackie, causing a hurt and betrayed Tim to move out. He spends a short amount of time staying with the Taylors, but is kicked out after Coach thought that he was taking advantage of Julie. In reality, Tim had been taking care of a drunk Julie. Coach later apologizes and praises Tim for his honorability. After that, Tim moves in with Guy Raston, whom he later finds out is a drug dealer. Things don't go so well and Tim leaves. Billy apologizes for hurting him after he and Jackie break up, and Tim moves back in with him - but not after stealing three thousand dollars from Guy.
Tim realizes that he's in love with Lyla, but goes down to her Christian radio center with flowers only to see her kissing her new love interest, Chris. He becomes extremely jealous and does what he can to interfere with their relationship. After Lyla helps him pay back the three grand he stole from Guy, he tells her that he loves her, but she says that she doesn't feel the same way about him and is happy with Chris.
Things sure have changed after Season 2, as Tim and Lyla are seen hooking up and agree to become boyfriend and girlfriend. Their relationship has their share of ups and downs. Tim doesn't always fit in with Lyla's world, her father Buddy doesn't think too highly of him, and they both want very different things out of life. However, Lyla has a positive affect on Tim, who becomes more mature and applies to college at her suggestion, and it seems to be the first normal, real, loving relationship Tim has been in.
Smash has graduated and Tim is now the starting tailback, a role he struggles to fit into at first. He eventually steps up and helps the Panthers win several key games.
Billy becomes engaged to and marries Tyra's older sister, Mindy Collette. Tim serves as Billy's best man in their wedding.
Tim is accepted to the fictional San Antonio State University. Lyla plans to follow him there, but Tim tells her to follow her dreams and go to Vanderbilt, knowing that she's too good for San Antonio State. The pair part ways.
Upon graduation from high school, Tim went to the fictional San Antonio State College for a short time where he played football before dropping out, realizing that it would never be something he would be happy doing. Tim undergoes a lot of positive transformations in this season, proving himself to be more reliable and caring than originally thought.
He is still in love with Lyla but states they just had different paths. Lyla returns to Dillon to attend Matt's father's funeral and the two briefly rekindle their relationship, but both realize and acknowledge that a future for them is not in the cards.
After dropping out of college, Tim originally thinks he can live with his brother Billy and his new pregnant wife Mindy but soon learns that is not the case. He finds a trailer for rent from Cheryl, a woman he had a one-night stand. He befriends her daughter Becky and helps her through many hard times. The two become very close but Tim looks at her like a little sister and not a girlfriend which upsets Becky at first, who has strong feelings for him. They kiss several times and Becky admits her love for him, but each time Tim tells her that they can't be romantically involved.
Tim and his brother Billy open an autobody shop, Riggins' Rigs, but business is very slow. With pressure mounting on Billy to provide for his pregnant wife, he agrees to turn his shop into a chop shop to earn more money. After Tim discovers Billy's secret operation, which he opposes, he agrees to help out to make enough money to buy a plot of land he had set his eyes on. He makes enough money to buy that land; however, the police discover their scheme and arrest Tim, the only person who had been in the shop that night. In the season four finale, "Thanksgiving," realizing that his brother needs to stay and provide for his wife and newborn baby, Tim turns himself in to the sheriff's office and takes full responsibility for the chop shop.
In season 5, Tim appears in the first episode with only 3 months left to serve thanks to good behavior. He is clearly changed and holds a guilty Billy at a distance. He isn't seen again until the last 4 episodes when he has a parole hearing and is released.
He struggles readjusting to everyday life and is angry at Billy for not cleaning up his life. Prison clearly changed Tim, as he is much more quiet and angry then he used to be. He gets a job at Buddy's new bar, but says he wants to leave Dillon for good to work in Alaska.
Tyra Collette, Tim's old flame, returns out of the blue. Tim is clearly glad to see her, and the two reunite. Tyra convinces Tim to repair his relationship with Billy, and the two kiss and spend the night together. Although Tim is interested in the two of them getting back together, Tyra is apprehensive. They finally have an important talk, where Tyra admits that she's been in love with Tim since she was five, but fears never pursuing her dreams. Tim says that he has dreams too, and suggests that maybe one day their dreams can merge together. Tyra smiles, seeming to like this idea. It seems very likely that the two will have a future together.
The series ends showing Tim and Billy building a house on Tim's land, something he always wanted to do. He and Billy clink their beers and agree, "Texas Forever".