Patriots Linebacker Hightower Returns to Practice
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Hightower returned to practice with the team on Tuesday, August 22 at Gillette Stadium.
According to reports, he took part in drills with on-the-line players early in practice.
Hightower tested the free agent waters in the offseason before returning to the Patriots on a 4-year deal worth $43.5 million.
He was present for spring practices, but did not participate. Instead, he did conditioning work off to the side. He was placed on PUP just prior to training camp starting.
In 2016, Hightower was named a team captain for the first time and finished the year with 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and eight quarterback hits.
He was limited most of last season with knee and shoulder injuries.
Other Players Returning
Nate Solder, Deatrich Wise and LaAdrian Waddle also returned to the practice field on Tuesday.
Solder has not yet seen any preseason action, while Wise missed the Patriots last game against Houston with a head injury.
Waddle suffered a head injury in last week’s game against the Texans.
Rex Bulkhead, Malcolm Mitchell, Matthew Slater, Shea Mcclellan, Tony Garcia, Matt Lengel, Derek Rivers and Andrew Jelks were among the players missing.
Patriots vs Lions
The Patriots will play their third game of the preseason on Friday, August 25 in Detroit against the Lions.
Game time is set for 7 p.m.
LB Dont'a Hightower is back at practice, as he is off the PUP list. Sixteen days to opener. pic.twitter.com/X5Gg5RvWif— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 22, 2017
Cardinals activated LB Deone Bucannon from PUP, and Patriots did same with LB Dont’a Hightower. Two LBs back.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 22, 2017
Related Slideshow: 5 Takeaways From Patriots 27-23 Loss to Houston in Preseason Game 2
Tom Brady saw his first action of the preseason going 6 of 9 for 67 yards and a touchdown pass to Rex Burkhead.
He was in the game for two offensive possessions which took him into the second quarter before he was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo.
Brady hit Burkhead on a short pass, which he took to the end zone for his first score as a Patriot.
Brady also completed passes to James White, and a seven-yard pass to Brandin Cooks in the game.
Newcomer Rex Burkhead shows his versatility in this game.
Burkhead finished the game with seven rushes for 20 yards and caught three passes for 50 yards including the touchdown. He saw a total of 13 snaps with Brady and the first team offense.
He was also involved in pass protection.
Running Back Snaps Breakdown With Brady: (Out of 16 total snaps)
James White: 3
Dion Lewis: 0
For the first time since 2012, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski played in a preseason game.
It was reported on Friday, August 18, that Gronkowski would not play.
Gronkowski was on the field for 15 snaps and was not targeted.
He was effective as a run blocker, clearing room for Burkhead to take a short pass from Brady 16 yards at the end of the first quarter.
Elandon Roberts Injured
Linebacker Elandon Roberts suffered a rib injury following a collision with teammate Jonathan Freeny.
Roberts suffered the injury while in coverage on a slant route when the two collided.
Roberts stayed down and was carted off the field. He did not return.
The Patriots defense is already short up front with injuries to Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise, combined with the retirement of Rob Ninkovich.
Stephen Gostkowski nailed kicks of 51, 42, and 38 yards against the Texans while making all of his field goal attempts.
Gostkowski missed a 56-yard field goal last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Gostkowski missed five field goals and three extra points last season.
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