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Three-time Super Bowl champion Dont’a Hightower returning to Patriots as linebackers coach, per agency

The No. 25 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft announced his retirement last March.

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The next linebackers coach of the New England Patriots will again be a former one.

The organization has hired Dont’a Hightower for the opening on the defensive staff, as his agency, SportsTrust Advisors, announced Friday.

The No. 25 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft spent his initial four campaigns on the same depth chart as new Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo, who continued to work alongside him as the team’s inside linebackers coach from 2019 into 2021.

Hightower, 33, made his retirement official last March after remaining a free agent for all of 2022. The run began as a two-time BCS national champion and Alabama captain. It ended as a three-time Super Bowl champion and Patriots captain with roster spots on franchise’s All-Decade and All-Dynasty teams.

Through 117 career appearances in the regular season, Hightower amassed 569 tackles, 27 sacks, one safety, one interception, five fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles as well as two touchdowns. Through 17 appearances in the postseason, he tacked on 81 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception.

Nicknamed “Mr. February,” Hightower’s Patriots tenure included two Pro Bowl selections and one second-team All-Pro selection.

Defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington’s side of the ball continues to take shape with defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino and safeties coach Brian Belichick also on the 2024 staff.