Another core member of the second half of the New England Patriots dynasty called it a career earlier this week.
On Tuesday, linebacker Dont’a Hightower announced his retirement with a column in The Players Tribune.
“Today, I am officially retiring from the NFL. I know these announcements always feel bittersweet, but I can’t think of a better story than the one I wrote in New England. A decade, three Super Bowls, two Pro Bowls, and the birth of my son — all playing for one franchise. How many guys have a story like that?
“So this is a happy day for me, and I just wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate you embracing a Southern kid from Lewisburg, Tennessee.”
It’s been a hell of a ride & a career beyond my wildest dreams. It’s time to hang em up, from the bottom of my heart – thank you to everyone who played a part. @playerstribune #boomtower https://t.co/Bb2hA9BL9A
— Dont'a Hightower (@zeus30hightower) March 21, 2023
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and team chairman Robert Kraft each released special statements praising the veteran linebacker.
“Dont’a’s blend of intelligence, positional versatility, and physicality made him one of the rarest of players that I have ever coached,” Belichick’s statement read, via Patriots.com. “Very few players were capable of as much as Dont’a, who could win from multiple positions with power, athleticism, and his mind.
“His skills were most evident in two of the all-time great plays in franchise history, which led directly to two Super Bowl championships, but date back to the start of his decorated college and NFL careers. As a rookie, it was clear that Dont’a was already a mature, highly-competitive player who could make an immediate impact, which he did in his first game and consistently over the course of a decade.”
“Dont’a Hightower is a champion. He won at every level he ever played and always excelled in championship games” Kraft said.
“He helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls after winning two national championships at Alabama to become just the second player to win multiple championships at each level. He was a versatile linebacker whose game-altering plays in each of our Super Bowls earned him the moniker ‘Mr. February.’ Some of his greatest performances came on our biggest stage, including a crucial goal-line tackle against Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX, his strip stack against Atlanta two years later that sparked the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, and a two-sack performance that was part of a stifling defense which held the explosive L.A. Rams to just three points in Super Bowl LIII. I congratulate Dont’a on a tremendous career. We are honored to call Dont’a a Patriot and will always celebrate him as a champion.”
The Patriots’ first-round draft pick in 2012 out of the University of Alabama, Hightower played nine seasons in Foxborough, earning two Pro Bowl selections to go along with his three Super Bowl rings.
Over his career, Hightower recorded 569 total tackles, 27 sacks, and one career interception. He was also named to the Patriots All-2010s and All-Dynasty teams.
Below, you can check out additional social media reactions to Hightower’s retirement.
MR. FEBRUARY https://t.co/iB020Ffb0A
— Devin McCourty (@devinmccourty) March 21, 2023
From the strip sack vs Atlanta to the goal line touchdown saving tackle vs Seattle, @zeus30hightower always made the big play. Enjoy retirement bubs and congrats on the legendary career! https://t.co/yK0yBun6Pa
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) March 21, 2023
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) March 21, 2023
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Devin McCourty Dont'a Hightower Julian Edelman Malcolm Butler Marshawn Lynch Matt Ryan Rob Ninkovich Robert Kraft