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July 9, 3:30 PM ET
Chat with Dont'a Hightower

  (3:31 PM)

Dont'a is here!

Alex (Anaheim)

The offseason is long for fans, but what about for players?

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:32 PM)

It's definitely going to be an all year round thing, different than college. With the system that I'll be in, it will be easier than the situations of some other rookies.

Chris (Denver)

What do you remember the most about your rivalry games against Auburn in college?

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:33 PM)

Not necessarily being from Alabama, I was from Tennessee, I didn't fully understand it. But being there for four years and playing in it for three games. The biggest thing that stands out for me was the game I didn't play when Upchurch had the play at the goal line.

Spenser (NH)

Dont'a, do you try and model your game after any player in particular?

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:34 PM)

Yeah, there are a lot of great players. Patrick Willis, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Brian Urlacher. A lot of big, explosive guys.

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama)

Dont'a, What was it liked to be coached by Nick Saban?

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:34 PM)

It was a great honor. I've really respected the fact that he let me play under him. I learned a lot about football and he helped us become students of the game.

Ingrid (Unfortunately, Dallas)

What were your expectations of the draft? Did you think the Pats had you on their board? What were your expectations once you knew you were coming to New England? Take us through your mind immediately after that phone call. Thanks best of luck this year!

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:35 PM)

No, I wasn't really sure. I could just work to put myself in the best situation. Going into the draft, I was just as curious as everyone else.

Brian (Boston)

Was there any more pressure during those Auburn games in your national championship seasons?

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:36 PM)

I don't think it ever mattered, whether we were up for a national championship or they were. When Auburn and Alabama play, that's all that matters. One team could not win a game all year but when that game comes around, that's all that matters.

Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)

Hey Dont'a, what was your favorite stadium to play in besides Bryant-Denny?

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:36 PM)

Probably Death Valley. Always playing in that stadium, there is always a lot of energy and a great game. You never see one team get blown out. It's always a great game.

grandjordanian (San Diego, CA)

Mayo and Spikes are two really solid ILBs, and each has some specific strengths. What have you been most impressed with in practicing along side them, and what do you see as your special skills that you bring to compliment them?

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:37 PM)

I've grown watching both of these guys. They have leadership roles with the team. How they learn and how they watch film, that will definitely help me down the road.

Nick (New York)

Did you like playing qith Dareus for the years he was teamates with you??

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:38 PM)

Yeah, to this day, all of us still keep in close contact with each other. He's one of the top guys I liked playing behind. He always did his job and it took two people to block him. I could just shoot the gap. He was so dominant.

Josh (Tuolumne, CA)

Hi Dont'a! Huge Pats fan here. I was just wondering how you're getting along with the other Pats rookies this year? Most of you are all on defense and I would imagine it helps team chemistry a lot to get along with the other rooks. So do you guys hang out off the field as well? Thanks.

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:39 PM)

We got along pretty well. We all worked hard.

Neal (FL)

outside of Auburn-Alabama, what was the next biggest rival?

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:41 PM)

Definitely LSU. LSU-Alabama picked up their rivalry. They got to the national championship or not, that was always a big game. Tennessee was a big one too.

Ryan (DC)

what will you miss the most about those rivalry weeks?

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:41 PM)

I think the most we'll miss is the fans. I think they were more hyped up about the game than we were. The energy they bring helps motivate us even more.

RN (Ala)

Dont'a will there be a little contest between you and Courtney Upshaw on who can put up the best rookie LB stats. Loved watching you guys dominate at bama.

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:43 PM)

No, not really a wager, but Courtney and me, we came in together. We'll always be close and we'll always be competing with each other. We'll always push each other to have great careers.

Dont'a Hightower
  (3:43 PM)

Playing at Alabama was probably the best decision that I ever made. I just want to thank everyone for all of the love and support.