Dont’a Hightower was one of the most prized free agents this offseason. After meeting with several teams, he decided to re-sign with the New England Patriots on a four-year, $43.5 million extension.
Dont’a Hightower is one of the leagues best inside linebackers and has made game-changing plays in the New England Patriots‘ last two Super Bowls. However, his injury history hindered his chances of getting big money in free agency. Over the last five seasons, Hightower has missed 13 games with an assortment of injuries.
To deal with his meniscus injury that he played through in 2016, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that Hightower has begun working with Tom Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero.
Hightower was placed on the physically unable to perform list before training camp, and has been kept out of all 12 practices. Brady’s trainer is working with Hightower to build strength in his knee before this upcoming season, according to Howe.
Along with working with Guerrero, Hightower is still training regularly with the Patriots strength staff. He has often been spotted on the lower conditioning fields during practices. Hightower joins Rob Gronkowksi as another teammate to commit full-time to Brady’s trainer. Gronk started working with Guerrero after his latest back surgery.
Hightower’s knee doesn’t appear to put him in any danger of missing the season opener. The Patriots did get deeper at the linebacker position this offseason as a security blanket.
They added a talented undrafted free agent in Harvey Langi. Langi landed a contract with New England that included a $100,000 base salary and a $15,000 signing bonus. With over $115,000 guaranteed, Langi was the highest paid undrafted free agent, paid like a fifth round draft selection.
New England also acquired 10-year veteran David Harris in free agency. Harris landed a two-year deal after getting released from the New York Jets. With over 1,000 career tackles, he’ll provide quality depth at the inside linebacker position.
There has been no indication of when Hightower will return off the PUP list. He can be activated at any time before the start of the regular season.