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Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower setting higher ceiling in 2013

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FOXBOROUGH — Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower is not a rookie anymore.

The second-year pro should be one of the starters alongside Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes. As such, Hightower is already considering himself a veteran in training camp.

“I feel a lot better than I did about my first one,” Hightower said of this year’s preseason. “I have a pretty good feeling how things are going to go this year as far as how to practice, how to watch film, things like that — things I thought I knew my rookie year, which I really didn’t know. I know more about that now. Just trying to step up and be more of a leader for some of the younger guys coming in.”

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