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Dont’a Hightower announces his retirement

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A former Patriots linebacker is officially calling it a career.

Dont’a Hightower announced his retirement on Tuesday in a piece published in the Players’ Tribune.

“Today, I am officially retiring from the NFL. I know these announcements always feel bittersweet, but I can’t think of a better story than the one I wrote in New England. A decade, three Super Bowls, two Pro Bowls, and the birth of my son — all playing for one franchise. How many guys have a story like that?

“So this is a happy day for me, and I just wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate you embracing a Southern kid from Lewisburg, Tennessee.”

A first-round pick in the 2012 draft, Hightower played his entire career with the Patriots. He appeared in 117 games with 114 starts, recording 27.0 sacks, 43 tackles for loss, 67 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries. He also intercepted one pass and scored two defensive touchdowns.

Hightower’s final contract with the Patriots expired after the 2021 season and he did not join a team in 2022.