New England Patriots: Dont’a Hightower present at OTA’s
New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower was present at OTA’s recently.
A lot of the news recently involving the New England Patriots involved quarterback Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. The two superstars missed the first two phases of the Patriots offseason and were also absent for the beginning of phase three.
Brady and Gronkowski weren’t the only players absent from the organized team activities that began this week. New England had 10 players total that was missing and another eight that were limited participants.
Wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Cody Hollister, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive end Trey Flowers, cornerback Jonathan Jones, offensive guard Joe Thuney, running back Brandon Bolden and safety David Jones are all absent as well.
Mitchell was seen practicing in some capacity earlier this week. Recently, Hightower was also seen at the practice facility.
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The Patriots practice was closed off to media on Thursday, but there were pictures shared on their official website that Hightower was in.
This is excellent news for the Patriots and Hightower. Hightower appeared in only five games for New England last season as he suffered another shoulder injury that landed him on the season-ending injured reserve. The five games played were the fewest in a season for Hightower’s career.
Losing Hightower was a tough blow for the Patriots defense. He is the leader on that side of the ball as an extension of the coaching staff on the field. Hightower’s versatility on the field is also difficult to replace. The Patriots don’t have another linebacker on the roster that can fill in and perform the multiple roles that Hightower does.
Hightower is the latest player that ended last season on IR to join the team for workouts. Julian Edelman, Marcus Cannon, Derek Rivers, Harvey Langi, Vincent Valentine, Nate Ebner and Cyrus Jones all ended 2017 on IR as well but are participating in practice. The only player who has yet to be spotted is Jonathan Jones.
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New England will probably bring Hightower along slowly as he recovers from his shoulder injury. However, getting him back on the field in any capacity is a positive and step in the right direction.