Former Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower announces retirement

Former Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower announced his retirement Tuesday in a piece he wrote for The Players’ Tribune. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Hightower, 33, played all nine seasons of his NFL career with the Patriots and earned two Pro Bowl nods.
  • The team’s 2012 first-round pick helped New England win three Super Bowls during his tenure. He tallied 569 total tackles and 27 sacks.
  • Hightower last played in 2021. He opted out of the 2020 season citing concerns surrounding COVID-19. Hightower didn’t land on a team after his contract expired in March 2022 with the Patriots.

Hightower’s legacy

Hightower was one of the most clutch performers on a franchise full of big-game stars. While he was a very good regular season player for the Patriots, his biggest plays came at the biggest times. His sack of Matt Ryan in Super Bowl LI was a turning point in the team’s 28-3 comeback win over the Falcons. And his tackle of Marshawn Lynch at the goal line in Super Bowl XLIX set up Malcolm Butler’s game-winning interception. Hightower’s legacy will always be about the game-changing plays that helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls with Hightower on the roster. — Graff

Required reading

(Photo: Bob Donnan / USA Today)

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