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Alongside quarterback Tom Brady, linebacker Dont’a Hightower helped the Patriots win three Super Bowl championships between 2014-2019. But a lot has happened since then. Brady left to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and earned yet another Super Bowl ring.
Meanwhile, Hightower returns to New England after opting out of the 2020 season, and he is eager to get after Brady once the two face off as part of a Week 4 matchup between Brady’s Bucs and the Patriots.
Last year, New England played their first season without Tom Brady since 2000, and they ended with a dismal 7-9 record. The veteran linebacker is aware of the great hype surrounding Brady’s return to Foxborough on Oct. 3 — his first game against his old squad wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform.
“It’s going to be good to see 12 again,” said Hightower, in an interview with The Boston Globe. “I’ve been going against him in practice for so long, I’m looking forward to playing against him.”
The 31-year-old linebacker added, “No in between the lines, it’s football. I’m sure he wouldn’t expect anything different.”
Hightower’s last appearance on the field — as Brady’s teammate — came during the 2019-2020 season. Hightower opted out of playing in 2020 after announcing in February that he and his wife were expecting their first child.
“My primary goal at that time was to take care of my family, and I felt like I did the right thing,” Hightower said regarding his opt out. “If I had to do it again, I’d definitely do it the same way.”