The Patriots waited, but couldn’t avoid the inevitable.
Hightower suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week Seven against the Falcons, and they didn’t immediately rule him out for the year.
But with their signing of Ricky Jean Francois, they needed the roster spot, and apparently came to the conclusion he wasn’t coming back this year.
Also, linebacker Shea McClellin won’t be returning from IR any time soon, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network. He had been practicing recently in hopes of returning, and was eligible to return this week.