Patriots

Patriots

Dont'a Hightower's torn pectoral muscle, which reportedly will end his season, may have come as a surprise to outsiders. But TheMMQB.com's Albert Breer doesn't think it could have been a surprise to the Patriots, because he said Hightower had the injury well before he was hurt Sunday against the Falcons.

"[He] failed physicals in March because of this," Breer told Toucher & Rich, referencing free-agent visits Hightower made to the Jets and Steelers. "I know one team found that he had, at that point -- and this is seven months ago now -- had a 55 percent torn pec then.

"So that was why [the Patriots] were very careful with him in the spring, why they were careful with him in the summer. And I think the hope was that they could get through this year with it . . . "

As NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry noted, Breer thinks replacing Hightower with one person will be impossible.

"[It's] a gigantic loss," said Breer. "Look, they need playmakers in their front seven. They don't have many of them. And here's a guy who plays mulitiple spots and because of that, I think that, you know, it's going to take multiple guys to replace him and what he brings to the table."

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