Dont’a Hightower retires from NFL after decade with Patriots

Dont’a Hightower is making a quiet exit to a memorable profession with the New England Patriots.

The veteran linebacker, who didn’t play final season, introduced his retirement Tuesday in an essay posted on the Gamers’ Tribune web site.

It ends a decade-long run in New England that started with the Patriots choosing him twenty fifth total within the 2012 draft. It included three Tremendous Bowl rings (2014, 2016, 2018) and a pair of Professional Bowl alternatives (2016, 2019). He additionally was named a second-team All-Professional in 2016.

Hightower referred to as his determination “a contented day.”

“Folks at all times ask what makes the Patriots tradition so totally different. Simple reply: it was about professionalism, interval. You knew that you just needed to present up each single day – not simply bodily however extra so mentally,” he wrote. “We had a saying, ‘In case you do it proper, you do it gentle.’ Being good was anticipated. Being nice may even get you a thumbs up from (coach) Invoice (Belichick). Fortunately, I knew a factor or two about that from my time at Alabama beneath Coach (Nick) Saban.

“For 9 seasons, I lived that mentality 24/7. At this time, I am completely at peace understanding that I gave this franchise each ounce of sweat I had left.”

Hightower appeared in 117 video games in his NFL profession, amassing 27 sacks and 353 tackles.

Along with his spouse anticipating their first little one, he opted to sit down out the 2020 season due to considerations about COVID-19. He returned in 2021, however his manufacturing was down. He performed in 15 video games, logging 64 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.

He grew to become a free agent that summer time however did not signal a brand new contract.

Hightower doubtless might be most remembered for tackling Seattle working again Marshawn Lynch on the 1-yard line late within the Tremendous Bowl following the 2014 season. The play preceded Russell Wilson’s move that was intercepted by Malcolm Butler in the long run zone to clinch the Patriots’ 28-24 victory.

“After I noticed Seattle line up in that I-form, I knew Beast Mode was getting it, and I knew they’d been gashing us with that strong-side lead all recreation,” Hightower recalled in his essay. “I knew he was going to stroll by way of an enormous gap if I did not take a threat. … I figured we had nothing to lose. So I ripped up beneath (Russell) Okung and shot my shot. All I noticed was Marshawn’s two legs churning, and I simply prayed to God that I might clip him up or one thing. I reached out … and also you already know what occurred subsequent.”

Two seasons later, he got here up huge once more within the Tremendous Bowl. With the Patriots trailing the Falcons 28-12, his strip-sack of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan within the fourth quarter was recovered by Alan Department. New England used a brief subject and scored to get inside one possession. The Patriots finally tied it and capped off a historic comeback win in additional time.

“I am going to by no means get uninterested in inscribing ‘The Strip Sack’ on something I signal,” Hightower wrote.