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Report: Dont'a Hightower to Return as Patriots LB Coach

Dont'a Hightower's agents announce that the three-time Super Bowl champion is returning to the Patriots as a coach.

Dont'a Hightower - Silverman

Last spring, Jerod Mayo was asked about Dont'a Hightower's potential as a coach, and Mayo didn't hold back.

"I think Hightower would be a phenomenal coach," Mayo told reporters. "So we'll see. When I get a chance to run my own ship, I'll try to recruit him."

Recruit him he did and on Friday, Hightower's Sports Trust Advisors agency announced that the three-time Super Bowl champion Hightower would be joining the Patriots coaching staff as a linebackers coach. A 2012 first-round pick, Hightower made an instant impact out of Alabama, recovering a fumble for a scoop-and-score in his very first game and going on to record some of the biggest and most important defensive plays in Patriots Super Bowl history.

The addition of Hightower should round out new defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington's staff, with Hightower joining reported new defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, along with the anticipated returns of Brian Belichick (safeties) and Mike Pellegrino (cornerbacks). An outside linebackers coach remains another possibility after Steve Belichick's departure to the University of Washington.

In the announcement's graphic, Hightower shared a message with fans, "I'm home."

Hightower played all over the defense as a Patriots linebacker from 2012-2021 and should be well-equipped to take over a veteran unit led by captain Ja'Whaun Bentley and 2023's breakout LB Jahlani Tavai on the inside. On the outside things are less certain, with Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Mack Wilson all eyeing free agency next month.

Mayo recognized Hightower's potential and smarts first as teammates from 2012-2015, then when Mayo went on to coach Hightower in 2019 and 2021. Now he'll put Hightower's potential and smarts to work as the team welcomes a Patriots legend back into the fold.

"High and I have always had a great relationship. I was older. He was like a young pup," Mayo said last spring. "But he was very smart. He was very athletic. I got a chance to play beside him. I got a chance to coach him. There aren't many people like Hightower in terms of just his smarts. I think that gets overlooked a lot with High. High is a very smart football player. You talk about Randy Moss, no one really talks about his smarts, very smart football player. And that's Dont'a Hightower."

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