Hightower’s injuries are most likely not going to get better. If anything, they could worsen. He has proven that he can play through the injuries, for now, but the Patriots did treat his playing time differently toward the end of the season this season than in years past. Does that signal worsening symptoms, the Patriots’ recent improvements in the realm of injury prevention/management, or a blossoming leadership role for the 26 yo ILB and increased attention to his health?
I’m kicking off the offseason on Monday, but I couldn’t resist sharing this piece from Boston Sports Doc because Hightower is the biggest piece of the offseason puzzle.
This was a really balanced piece that went out of its way to praise Hightower’s toughness. We don’t need to rehash what Hightower has meant to last two Super Bowl teams, the huge clutch plays he made. There wouldn’t be two more Lombardi Trophies in the Patriots Hall if it wasn’t for Hightower. But his injury history is going to be a factor for the Patriots, and that’s even more true when you read how Dr. Flynn breaks down what’s been breaking down in Hightower’s body.
Solely as a football player I want Hightower to be on the Patriots until he retires. It’s not an accident that he’s wearing number 54 and has a respected spot in the locker room. The Patriots seemingly have been actively grooming Hightower to be the defensive captain, but there has seemed to be something missing at times.