David Butler II/USA Today Sports

Dont'a Hightower: I am ahead of schedule after shoulder surgery

Ryan Hannable
December 12, 2017 - 10:24 am

While the Patriots were in South Florida Monday night taking on the Dolphins, Dont'a Hightower was at Gillette Stadium hosting a Papa John's pizza party.

Hightower joined the NFL Sunday on a Monday pregame show with Mike Mutnansky and Rich Keefe and gave an update on his health. Hightower had season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn pec at the end of October.

"I feel great," he said. "I can’t complain where I am at. I am ahead of schedule. Just doing what doc asks me to do. Just grinding and looking forward to getting back next year.”

The linebacker said he's still keeping in touch with his teammates and the linebackers have a constant group text. Hightower admitted it has been tough to watch from afar, but he's cheering on his teammates as best he can.

“It is, but it is part of football and the whole next man up mantra that we kind of have installed in and fell in love with the past couple of years, that is what it is," Hightower said. "Guys have stepped up and done just that. I am more excited than they are when they are making plays. A lot of people have seen those Super Bowl clips last year of me screaming on the field and yelling and all that stuff. I am doing the same thing watching these guys. They are out there having fun and making plays so I couldn’t be happier for them.”

As for the turnaround of the defense, Hightower said it was just a matter of finding its identity.

“We kind of found our identity a little late, but once we found it we got it and we started rolling," he said. "Hopefully those guys can keep that going."

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower in-studio on NFL Monday

Mut & Keefe are joined by New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower. Dont'a talks about how his recovery from his pectoral injury is progressing, his thoughts on the rules regarding hitting an opposing player, and how he reacts on the fly to avoid making a hit that could draw a penalty.

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