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New England Patriots Star Reacts To Retirement Rumors

Jimmy Graham attempting to stiff arm Dont'a Hightower.

FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots attempts to tackle Jimmy Graham #80 of the Green Bay Packers during the first half at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

After opting out of the 2020 season, New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower was the subject of retirement rumors this offseason. This week, Hightower addressed those rumors.

Speaking to the media, Hightower dismissed the idea that he might retire. He joked that things have been so intense that it felt like people were trying to kick him out of the league.

“All the rumors about retirement,” Hightower said, via the Boston Herald. “Y’all had me thinking someone was trying to kick me out.”

Hightower made it clear that the decision to opt out was based solely on the situation at the time. He said that it had nothing to do with any thoughts of retirement.

“If I had to do it again, if I had to go back and do it, I would absolutely do it again,” Hightower said. “It was really just for the season. I wasn’t planning or discussing anything like that.”

Dont'a Hightower made the Pro Bowl in 2019 - his second with the team - after a superb year that included 71 tackles, 13 QB hits, 5.5 sacks, and a career-high four passes defended.

Not bad for a middle linebacker.

Injuries have been an issue for Hightower throughout his career though. Since going No. 25 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, Hightower has played a full season only once.

But after not having to deal with NFL injuries in 2020, perhaps 2021 will be his shot at a rebound year.

When do you think Dont'a Hightower will retire?