Hightower finished the Super Bowl win over the Seahawks with five tackles (three solo), including a major tackle late in the game to keep Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch out of the end zone. Trailing 28-24 with 1:06 remaining, the Seahawks had a first and 5 from the Patriots' 5-yard line. Lynch, who had scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter, ran off the left tackle for 4 yards before Hightower brought him down at the 1.
Hightower had been listed with a shoulder injury on the Patriots' injury report since Week 14. The third-year player finished the regular season second on the team with 89 tackles and tied for second with six sacks despite playing in only 12 games.
Hightower was a first-round draft pick (25th overall) by the Patriots in 2012.
- Mike Fiammetta