Morning Sports Update

Dont’a Hightower rejected retirement speculation after 2020 opt-out

"I don’t know what y’all want for me to say, man."

Dont'a Hightower retirement comments
Dont'a Hightower at Patriots minicamp in 2021. AP Photo/Steven Senne

The Red Sox won a back-and-forth game against Atlanta on Tuesday, 10-8. Boston batters connected on four home runs, and J.D. Martinez added his first triple since 2019.

Dont’a Hightower’s reaction to retirement speculation: Linebacker Dont’a Hightower was one of several Patriots players to opt out of the 2020 season, citing the threat of COVID-19.

Hightower, 31, has now returned to football for New England’s mandatory minicamp. On Tuesday, he answered questions from the media. The veteran linebacker was asked about retirement speculation multiple times.

“I wouldn’t be out here doing this for free,” Hightower initially responded.

Asked a follow-up question about whether he would be able to definitively commit to playing the 2021 season, Hightower reiterated that his presence at minicamp should be a sufficient answer.


“I don’t know what y’all want for me to say, man,” Hightower replied. “I’m here. I’m working. I’m in minicamp. I’m not here to write a story for you. I’m here to work, man. I’m here. I don’t know what else y’all want me to say. If I wasn’t here, then I think that would be something to talk about. But I’m here.”

Following yet another question about retirement, Hightower said he would repeat his decision from 2020 if he had to do it again, based on the circumstances.

“All them rumors about retirement, y’all had me thinking somebody was trying to kick me out,” said Hightower. “I did what I did for what I thought was the betterment of my family. Obviously, I feel a little different in the situation I’m in now, but if I had to go back and do it, I would absolutely do it again, so it was literally just for the season. I wasn’t planning one, two steps ahead or anything like that.”

Trivia: Dont’a Hightower was one of two Patriots first-round picks in 2012. Who was the other player New England drafted in the first round that year?


(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He went to Syracuse.

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