Jerod Mayo has hired a familiar face on the defensive side of the ball. Former Patriots two-time pro bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion Dont’a Hightower is back as linebackers coach.
Hightower was a 2012 first round draft pick of the Patriots out of Alabama. He played ten seasons with the Patriots. Mayo spoke last spring about Hightower’s coaching potential.
“I think Hightower would be a phenomenal coach,” Mayo told reporters. “So we’ll see. When I get a chance to run my own ship, I’ll try to recruit him.”
Hightower has played with many of the guys he is going to coach including Matthew Judon and Ja’Whaun Bentley. Normally that might be an issue for a former player, coaching his teammates. However, Hightower is smart, knows the game at a high level and he can lead.
Hightower will work for a former teammate in Mayo and a familiar face in new Patriots defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington. Covington worked with Hightower as outside linebackers coach in 2019.
When reflecting on his time with Hightower as a teammate, Mayo talked about what made him so special last spring.
“High and I have always had a great relationship. I was older. He was like a young pup.” Mayo continued: “But he was very smart. He was very athletic. I got a chance to play beside him. I got a chance to coach him. There aren’t many people like Hightower in terms of just his smarts. I think that gets overlooked a lot with High. High is a very smart football player. You talk about Randy Moss, no one really talks about his smarts, very smart football player. And that’s Dont’a Hightower.”
I think Hightower has the potential to be a terrific coach. His versatility as a player will benefit him as a coach and I think he will develop into a terrific teacher of the game.
Hightower will also relate to the players which is so important in today’s game and a big reason why Mayo hired him ultimately.
It is also great to see players with a championship pedigree back with that organization. It is important with a young team to teach players how to win. Hightower can do that.