Dont'a hightower (Getty Images)
Patriots' first round Draft pick Dont'a hightower took his first minicamp in stride. One of 20 players at Gillette this weekend, Hightower feels ready to realize his dream of playing in the NFL alongside players like Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes -- two players from the SEC who have made the transition.
New Patriots LB Hightower makes most of minicamp
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP)
New England's Dont'a Hightower is living out his childhood dream in the
of the Patriots' newest linebackers, Hightower isn't getting caught up
in the haze of playing out a real-life fantasy, though. Instead he's
focused on making the most of his opportunity.
''It just means a
lot for me to have my dreams come true,'' Hightower said before taking
the field at Patriots minicamp. ''And obviously doing something that
you love to do with so much passion means a lot to me and it's
definitely number one on my priority list right now.''
22, is determined to repay the faith that the Patriots showed in
trading up to select him in the first round of the NFL draft last
month. He's focused on earning his time.
''I'm here to work. I'm
ready to get down to business and really contribute to this team,''
Hightower said. ''I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team,
whether it's playing outside or inside. I'm just trying to do whatever
I can to help this team win.''
The Alabama product, fortunately,
has a pair of mentors on the Patriots to help guide him through the
transition to the NFL. Hightower hopes to use former SEC linebackers
Jerod Mayo (Tennessee) and Brandon Spikes (Florida) as a hub for his
''I'm really looking forward to learning from both
of those guys. Especially coming out college and the SEC, I really
looked up to those guys and they're great players,'' Hightower said.
''But I'm definitely looking forward to learning from those two as well
as the rest of the linebacking corps.''
Hightower says he's modeled his game after both Mayo and Spikes during
in the SEC, I've seen them in action before and watched them play and
stole some of their good moves,'' he said. ''So I'm really looking
forward to playing with those guys.''
Hightower was one of 20
players on the practice field at Gillette Stadium Saturday afternoon
for the final day of rookie minicamp. The players participated in some
stretching exercises before breaking off into their positional groups.
Former NFL quarterback and new Patriots coaching assistant Chris Simms
was on the field with the team on Saturday. ... The Patriots agreed to
a four-year contract with second-round pick Tavon Wilson, a safety from
Illinois, on a $4.2 million pact. Wilson is the first New England
rookie to agree to a deal.