Patriots sign LB Hightower

Updated: July 19, 2012, 12:44 PM ET
By Adam Schefter | ESPN

The New England Patriots announced the signing of first-round draft pick linebacker Dont'a Hightower on Thursday. The team did not disclose terms of the deal, but a league source said Wednesday that it was a four-year pact.

Hightower, 22, a linebacker out of Alabama, was the 25th overall pick in April's draft. The Pats traded up to get him, sending a first-round pick (31st overall) and a fourth-round pick (126th overall) to the Denver Broncos for No. 25.

The Patriots used their other first-round pick on Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, who went 21st overall.

"Guess the cats out of the bag lol *#PatriotsNation, wants to think everyone who has helped me reach my dream *#hightowerclan," Hightower tweeted Wednesday.

Hightower is the last of the Pats' seven 2012 draft picks to agree to terms on a deal. Rookies are due to report to camp on Thursday.

A native of Lewisburg, Tenn., Hightower last year was a first-team All-America selection by the Associated Press and a second-team All-SEC selection. He started 12 games for the Crimson Tide, leading them with 85 tackles (11 for a loss), four sacks, eight quarterback hits, one interception and one forced fumble.

Information from ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss was used in this report.



  • Beyond Baseball
    It will be an emotional two days at Fenway as the Sox mark Marathon Monday.
  • Bouncing Back
    The Bruins took it to the Red Wings in Game 2, knotting up their series.
  • Spirited Return
    Boston's runners and citizens are ready to take back their marathon.
  • Setting The Tone
    As usual, Tom Brady will be front and center when voluntary workouts begin.
  • Wouldn't Miss It
    Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall lead an elite American field at the Boston Marathon.