Injury sidelines Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower

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Dont'a Hightower was injured in the New England Patriots win over the Atlanta Falcons in the fog on Sunday night. Other names to note are Elandon Roberts, David Harris, and Marquis Flowers. He played in 29 games with one start over the last two seasons in Tennessee but was released at the final roster cutdown on September 2, 2017.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the influential linebacker will miss out on the Patriots attempts to retain the title they won so spectacularly in February, where he was a crucial factor.

New England signed Hightower to a four-year, $35 million deal on March 15, though his lower 2017 base salary ($1,250,000) and higher per-game earnings reflected the team's concern.

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"That's bad news for a guy like Hightower to go down with that injury and to be out for the year (with) what he means to this defense", linebacker David Harris said.

"It's a tough loss", McCourty said in comments distributed by the team. The 27-year-old Hightower remained in the contest for one more play before watching from the sideline. He is the latest in a long line of Patriots players who have suffered serious injuries this season, joining Julian Edelman, Cyrus Jones, Derek Rivers, Antonio Garcia, Malcolm Mitchell, Vincent Valentine and McClellin. Hightower has started five games this season and tallied 14 combined tackles and two quarterback sacks. Over the past three games, the Patriots defense is tied for 4th in the National Football League in points allowed and upped its standing in every notable category from the disastrous start to the 2017 campaign. I mean, he's a huge part of what we do.