The absences of both players contributed to a 7-9 record that kept the Patriots out of the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Hightower is now back with the team and ready to resume his role as a centerpiece of their defense.
Assuming he’s healthy, that means he’ll be in the lineup when Brady and the Buccaneers visit New England in Week 4 for one of the most anticipated games of the 2021 regular season. Hightower is one of those who has the game circled on the schedule.
“It’s going to be good to see 12 again,” Hightower said, via Stan Grossfeld of the Boston Globe. “I’ve been going against him in practice for so long, I’m looking forward to playing against him.”
Hightower scoffed at the notion that there will be any “soft sacking” of Brady should the opportunity to bring him down present itself by saying Brady “wouldn’t expect anything different” from a player who didn’t show opposing quarterbacks that kind of mercy when they were wearing the same uniform.