Three-Time Super Bowl Champ Dont'a Hightower Returning To Patriots As Linebackers Coach

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots linebacker and three-time Super Bowl champion Dont'a Hightower is joining new coach Jerod Mayo's staff as an assistant.

Hightower and his agency confirmed Friday he would be joining the Patriots to coach his old position.

Hightower began a decade-long run in New England when the Patriots selected him 25th overall in the 2012 draft. It included three Super Bowl rings (2014, 2016, 2018) and a pair of Pro Bowl selections (2016, 2019). He also was a second-team All-Pro in 2016.

With his wife expecting their first child, he opted to sit out the 2020 season because of concerns about COVID-19. He returned in 2021, but his production was down. He played in 15 games, logging 64 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.

The 2021 season proved to be his final one before he officially retired in March 2023. Hightower appeared in 117 games in his NFL career, amassing 27 sacks and 353 tackles.

Hightower played four seasons alongside Mayo and then under him when Mayo started as a Patriots assistant in 2019.

Hightower will be working directly under first-time defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington, who was promoted from defensive line coach earlier this month.