The New England Patriots defense missed Dont’a Hightower last year, and he sure missed them.
The longtime Pats linebacker opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, but by all accounts is looking just fine in his return to New England this training camp.
That was no guarantee, and the fact that he even is getting the opportunity to play again is something Hightower isn’t taking for granted.
“It’s kind of like a second chance almost,” Hightower told reporters Friday, via MassLive. “It’s the first time in a long time that I have had a year off and it not be because of rehab or a surgery or something. Just being a fan last year and enjoying it — (I’m) enjoying every hard day of practice, every hard period or whatever it is because you never know when your last one will be.”
In addition to the return of Hightower, the Patriots retooled their defense this past offseason. That’s giving the 31-year-old — and Patriots fans alike — plenty of reason to be excited about New England’s defense in 2021.