Another New England Patriots legend has announced his retirement this offseason.
On Tuesday, Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower announced that he is officially retiring. Hightower penned a piece in The Player’s Tribune where he talked about the decision and what makes the culture in New England different from the rest of the league.
“People always ask what makes the Patriots culture so different. Easy answer: it was about professionalism, period,” Hightower said. “You knew that you had to show up every single day — not just physically but more so mentally. We had a saying, “If you do it right, you do it light.” Being good was expected. Being great might even get you a thumbs up from Bill. Luckily, I knew a thing or two about that from my time at Alabama under Coach Saban.
“For nine seasons, I lived that mentality 24/7. Today, I’m totally at peace knowing that I gave this franchise every ounce of sweat I had left,” the linebacker added.
Hightower played in over 100 games for New England. The linebacker racked up 569 total tackles and 27 sacks per Pro Football Reference. Hightower was also named a Pro Bowler on two separate occasions. His last game played was during the 2021 season as he sat out the entirety of the 2022 season.
Dont’a Hightower Was a Super Bowl Hero for the New England Patriots
Hightower won three Super Bowl rings with New England and he played a major role in the Patriots being able to win those games. The memory that will forever be remembered by fans in New England will be his strip sack of Matt Ryan in Super Bowl LI.
“I’ll never forget when we were in the locker room at half-time,” Hightower said. “We’re down 21–3, so some guys are quiet, and some guys are doing the rah-rah stuff. I sat there and for some reason thought, “Man, I don’t even have a son yet. But one day, he’s going to watch the tape of this game, and he’s gonna know one thing for sure. His dad never f***ing quit.”
“You already know the rest,” he added. “And I’ll never get tired of inscribing “The Strip Sack” on anything I sign.”
Dont’a Hightower Still Doesn’t Believe How His NFL Career Turned Out
Even though he won’t play another game, Hightower still can’t believe just how well his career in the NFL turned out. He also took the time to send a special thank you to his mother.
“Sometimes it’s still unreal to think about…. I am a three-time Super Bowl champion,” Hightower said. “Pretty good for a kid from Lewisburg, Tennessee. I appreciate everyone who helped me make this dream come true. But I especially want to thank my mom. None of this happens without her. Now that I got my own 40-pound two-year-old running around the house like a little wrecking ball, I don’t know how you held it down for us all by yourself.
“I just want to say thank you for helping me live my dream,” he added.
With the retirements of Devin McCourty and Hightower, the Patriots defense will officially be entering a new era.