You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Patriots Super Bowl hero Dont’a Hightower officially announces his retirement 3/21/2023 Mark Daniels,

As soon as Dont’a Hightower came to New England, the linebacker made an impact. For the nine seasons he played, this captain and Pro Bowler was always a great fit for the Patriots and Bill Belichick’s defense.

That’s how he’ll be remembered.

On Tuesday, Hightower officially announced his retirement from the NFL. The 33-year-old penned the announcement on The Players’ Tribute, where he detailed his time in New England and reminisced about his three Super Bowl championships.

“I know these announcements always feel bittersweet, but I can’t think of a better story than the one I wrote in New England,” Hightower wrote. “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?”

Hightower, who last played in 2021, was the 25th overall pick in the 2012 draft. The powerful linebacker made an instant impact in Foxborough, starting 114 of 117 games played in the NFL – all with the Patriots. Hightower also developed into a leader, taking over the captain role from Jerod Mayo.

Hightower earned Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors in 2016, but he showed the world he was one of the best linebackers in the NFL during the Patriots 2014 Super Bowl run. Before Malcolm Butler made a game-securing interception on the goal line, it was Hightower who stopped Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch short of the goal line. He also made that play while dealing with a shoulder injury.

Ultimately, Hightower’s tackle set up one of the best plays in Super Bowl history. He wrote that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to make that play, but went for broke.

“But I figured we had nothing to lose. So I ripped up under Okung and shot my shot,” Hightower wrote. “All I saw was Marshawn’s two legs churning, and I just prayed to God that I could clip him up or something. I reached out ... and you already know what happened next.”

In his next Super Bowl, Hightower played a huge role in the Patriots comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons. That game saw the linebacker strip-sack Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the second half. The Patriots scored next to make it a one-score game en route to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

In his retirement letter, Hightower also revealed that he dealt with food poisoning leading up the Patriots Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams. He still finished with two sacks and a pass deflection in one of the most dominant defensive wins in Super Bowl history.

“That third ring? Just as sweet, despite dealing with food poisoning the days leading up to the game,” Hightower wrote. All I can say is, when Sunday rolled around, you already know what it is....

“Do your job.”

That really sums up how Hightower approached his NFL career. He was a perfect fit in the Patriots defense and in that locker room. He last made a Pro Bowl in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Hightower played in 2021 where he made 64 tackles.

Said Hightower: “Today, I’m totally at peace knowing that I gave this franchise every ounce of sweat I had left.”

©2023 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon