Ex-Patriots star LB Dont’a Hightower returns as next linebackers coach for the team

The New England Patriots once enjoyed a “golden dynasty” in the NFL. While quarterback Tom Brady was playing in formidable form on the offensive side, linebacker Dont’a Hightower did his job by calling signals from the heart of the team’s defense. He served as the Pats’ tone-setter both on and off the field.

Hightower’s even earned the famous nickname “Mr. February” for his incredible game-changing plays during three Super Bowls. Now, he is back in New England as a coaching member.

Patriots hire Dont’a Hightower as their LB coach

Dont’a Hightower is making a return to the Patriots, but this time in a linebacker coaching role. He didn’t coach on any NFL team prior to this, per CBS Sports.

This move comes in the wake of the Patriots undergoing changes after parting ways with long-time head coach Bill Belichick. The team has strategically filled coaching positions with individuals who are expected to bring coaching expertise and a deep understanding of the game at the NFL level. Hightower is the latest addition to this recent trend.

The veteran’s on-field experience and intricate knowledge of the game make him well-suited to step into the role previously held jointly by Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick. Mayo held the position for the last five seasons, but he has now been promoted to the head coaching role.

Hightower’s return to the Patriots organization as a coach was hinted at last spring after his retirement. Mayo, his former teammate and then-assistant coach, had nothing but praise for Hightower’s coaching potential at that time.

The defensive staff is comprised of highly regarded individuals, including defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington, cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino, safeties coach Brian Belichick, and defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery.

This cohesive group is set to bring a blend of experience and fresh perspectives to set the stage for a dynamic defensive strategy in the upcoming seasons.

Looking at Dont’a Hightower’s Patriots career

Dont’a Hightower began his NFL journey when he was chosen by the Patriots as the No. 25 overall pick in the 2012 Draft. Throughout his time with the squad, he accumulated an impressive record of 569 combined tackles, 27 sacks, 43 tackles for loss, and one interception.

However, it was the LB’s crucial moment in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons that solidified his legacy. With the Patriots trailing 28-12 and just eight minutes left on the clock, he executed a strip-sack on the rival’s quarterback, Matt Ryan.

This play proved to be the turning point in the historic comeback due to Hightower’s ability to rise to the occasion in crucial moments.

The ex-NFL star sat out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He announced his retirement last March. The football icon earned three Super Bowl victories, two Pro Bowl appearances, and a second-team All-Pro selection.

The icon’s prowess on the field earned him a well-deserved spot on the New England Patriots All-2010s and All-Dynasty teams. He even joined the ranks of Patriots linebacker greats, standing alongside legends like Andre Tippett, Mike Vrabel, Steven Nelson, and Tedy Bruschi.

What’s your take on Dont’a Hightower’s new role?

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