Hightower Returns to Patriots on 4-Year Deal
Thursday, March 16, 2017
According to his agency, SportsTrust Advisors, Hightower is returning to the Patriots on a four-year deal worth $43.5 million with $19 million guaranteed.
Hightower had heavy interest from both the Jets and Steelers, visiting the Steelers on Tuesday.
Hightower With the Patriots
In his time in New England, Hightower has recorded two of the biggest plays in Patriots Super Bowl history.
In Super Bowl 51, Hightower’s fourth quarter strip sack of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan helped spark the Patriots to a 25 point second half comeback. Following the game, head coach Bill Belichick called the play a game changer.
Two years earlier in Super Bowl 49, Hightower tackled Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch at the 1-yard line with 1:06 to play. On the next play, Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson to seal the Patriots Super Bowl win.
In 2016, Hightower was named a team captain for the first time and finished the year with 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits.
Related Slideshow: 16 Plays That Define the Patriots 2016 Season Regular Season - in Vines
LeGarrette Blount Leaps Over a Dolphins Player
LeGarrette Blount took a toss from rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett and proceeded to make an Olympic hurdle type leap over Dolphins' defensive back Byron Maxwell and pick up the first down
Blount ran for 123 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Garoppolo Dominates Miami
In the Patriots home opener against the rival Miami Dolphins, Garoppolo was dominant, completing 18 of 27 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns, including this one to Danny Amendola.
Garoppolo would get injured just before halftime and the Patriots would hold on to win 31-24.
Hightower's big hit on Browns quarterback Cody Kessler knocked him out of the game. The next week, Hightower would sack Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the end zone for a safety and change the momentum of that game.
So far this season, Hightower has 1.5 sacks, one safety, 14 solo tackles and one pass defensed in six games played.
Tom Brady Plays First Game Back at Gillette
Brady made his return to the Patriots in the previous game on the road against Cleveland, but his first game back at Gillette Stadium came against the Bengals.
Brady hit running back James White for his first touchdown pass of the day and New England won 35-17.
He finished the game completing 29 of 35 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns.
Gronkowski Injured on Hit by Seattle's Earl Thomas
Near the end of the 2nd quarter of the Patriots game against Seattle, Earl Thomas hit Rob Gronkowski square in the chest. Just two weeks later, it would be announced that Gronkowski would be out for the season.
The Patriots lost to Seattle 31-24
Brady Nearly Fumbles Against Jets, Throws Touchdown to Mitchell
Trailing 10-3 and on the Jets five-yard line, Brady fumbled the snap picked it up and found Malcolm Mitchell in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to tie the game at ten following a Gostkowski extra point.
The Patriots would go on to win 22-17.
Shea McClellin Blocks Ravens Field Goal
The Ravens threatened to take the lead, 3-2, midway through the first quarter on a field goal attempt by kicker Justin Tucker, but New England's Shea McClellin jumped over the center and got the block. The Patriots offense scored a touchdown on their ensuing possession to take a 9-0 lead.
The Patriots would go on to win the game 30-23.
Blount Breaks Curtis Martin's Record for Rushing TDs in a Season
Running back LeGarrette Blount recorded his 15th rushing touchdown of the season in the Patriots win over Denver. With the score, he passed Curtis Martin for most rushing touchdowns in a season.
The Patriots beat Denver 16-3 to clinch AFC East.
McCourty's Hit on DeMaryius Thomas
On a fourth and 2, Devin McCourty put an end to Denver's come come back hopes with this hit on DeMaryius Thomas that forced him to drop the ball.
Had Thomas made the catch, the Broncos would have likely scored on the drive, making the final minutes a little more nervewracking.
Matt Lengel Catches First Touchdown Pass
Lengel came over to the Patriots from the Bengals practice squad and had never caught a touchdown pass in his career.
Already up 13-0, Tom Brady hit Lengel over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown pass to give the Patriots a 20-0 lead. It was Lengel's first catch, first target, and first touchdown.
The Patriots would go on to beat the Jets 41-3.
Michael Floyd's Block on Lippitt to Spring Edelman Against Miami
Michael Floyd's block on Miami's Tony Lippit to spring Julian Edelman's 77 yard touchdown is one of the greatest blocks in Patriots history.
The Patriots beat the Dolphins 35-14 to clinch the top seed in the AFC heading into the playoffs.
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