Patriots Football Now identified five possible candidates to become the New England Patriots’ next linebackers coach on Friday. Later in the afternoon, one of those candidates has reportedly landed the job. Former Patriots player Dont’a Hightower is reportedly landing the job in New England.
The news was first reported by SportsTrust Advisors.
Head coach Jerod Mayo let it be known that he wanted Dont’a Hightower to transition into coaching by joining his staff. Like Mayo, he played his entire NFL career (2012-2021) in New England, playing alongside the Patriots head coach for five seasons.
The New England Patriots defensive coaching staff is now nearly complete. Hightower joins DeMarcus Covington (defensive coordinator), Jerry Montgomery (defensive line), Brian Belichick (safeties) and Mike Pelligrino (cornerbacks). Defensive assistant Keith Jones is expected to be retained as well. New England has had multiple linebackers coaches since 2018 when Brian Flores held the role by himself. So it is still possible another coach will be added to work alongside Hightower.
Dont’a Hightower has five championship rings as a player. He won two National Championships playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide in college. He went on to win three Super Bowls with the Patriots.
Hightower took over as a team captain when Mayo was done playing. Although he has no coaching experience, he is likely to be a popular pick among Patriots fans. His trajectory follows that of Jerod Mayo in many ways.
Dont’a Hightower was one of the New England Patriots’ most popular and productive players during his playing career. In addition to helping win three Lombardi Trophies, Hightower played in 134 games for New England, including 17 in the postseason. He was named to the Pro Bowl following the 2014 and 2019 seasons. Hightower also made arguably the biggest tackle in franchise history, helping to set up Malcolm Butler’s game-winning interception in Super Bowl 49.