Dont'a Hightower is focusing on his family during this difficult time.

The New England Patriots linebacker has decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hightower posted a message to Patriots fans on his social media channels Tuesday in which he expressed his gratitude for their support and explained that he was making "the best decision for my family at this time."

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Check out his full remarks in the tweet below:

Hightower was a first-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2012 and has been one of the team's best defensive players ever since. He's also shown tremendous leadership on and off the field as a team captain.

Hightower is one of six Patriots players who've reportedly opted out of the 2020 season, as of this writing. The list also includes guard Najee Toran, running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Dan Vitale, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon and safety Patrick Chung.

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