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#pounditSaturday, March 2, 2024

Patriots bring back former All-Pro defender as assistant coach

Patriots helmet on the bench

Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; A New England Patriots helmet sits on the sideline during the first half against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Jerod Mayo won’t be the only former New England Patriots linebacker on the team’s coaching staff next season.

The Patriots announced on Friday that they are bringing back Dont’a Hightower. The 33-year-old Hightower will serve as their new LBs coach.

Hightower was a lifelong Patriot who played his entire nine-season NFL career for the team after being selected in the first round of the 2012 draft (No. 25 overall). He was a starting linebacker on three of their Super Bowl teams (XLIX over Seattle, LI over Atlanta, and LIII over the L.A. Rams). Hightower also made an All-Pro team in 2016 plus two career Pro Bowls.

After last playing in 2021 and going unsigned in 2022, Hightower announced his retirement in early 2023. He will now try his hand at a coaching career on the staff of the new Patriots head coach Mayo, his fellow linebacker on the team for four total seasons.

The timing of Hightower’s return is also interesting since he once seemed to have some issues with Mayo’s predecessor Bill Belichick.

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