Dont’a Hightower announces retirement with a letter to Patriots fans

Hightower won three Super Bowls in nine years with New England.

Matt Patterson
Dont'a Hightower has given himself a new nickname — and it's not one that you might guess.

Former Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday morning.

He spent all nine seasons of his NFL career with New England and won three Super Bowls. As part of his announcement, Hightower wrote a letter to New England fans on The Players Tribune entitled “Thank You, New England.”

“I know these announcements always feel bittersweet,” Hightower wrote. “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?”


For the former first-round draft pick from the small town of Lewisburg, Tennessee, playing in the NFL was a dream. His first reaction to getting drafted by the Patriots was “dang it seems cold up there.”

But the embrace Patriots fans showed him was warm.

“I don’t know how you crazy dudes up in the stands at Foxborough be drinking beers with no shirts on in the middle of January,” Hightower wrote. “You’re truly a different breed. But you have always supported me — on and off the field — from Super Bowl wins to charity events and beyond, Pats Nation has always showed up.”

Hightower also thanked his mom, wife, coaches, teammates, family, friends, and supporters.

“I appreciate everyone who helped me make this dream come true,” Hightower wrote. “But I especially want to thank my mom. None of this happens without her. Now that I got my own 40-pound two-year-old running around the house like a little wrecking ball, I don’t know how you held it down for us all by yourself.”

He mentioned that his two-year-old son is too young to have seen him play. Hightower, who last played for the Patriots in 2021, sat out the 2022 season before officially retiring.


He said part of his motivation during the Patriots’ comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI was about how he wanted to be remembered.

“I’ll never forget when we were in the locker room at halftime,” Hightower wrote. “We’re down 21–3, so some guys are quiet, and some guys are doing the rah-rah stuff. I sat there and for some reason thought, ‘Man, I don’t even have a son yet. But one day, he’s going to watch the tape of this game, and he’s gonna know one thing for sure. His dad never f***ing quit.'”

Now, as his time as an NFL player comes to a close, he’ll be remembered as a three-time champion.

“Thank you. Just thank you. I wouldn’t rewrite a single chapter of this story,'” wrote Hightower.


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