Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower made the surprising decision to forego his $8 million salary and opt out of this season, saying it was a decision he made in conjunction with his family.
Although Hightower did not go into specifics about why he is opting out, he reportedly has an infant child and a mother with diabetes, and he put out a statement saying he decided it was for the best that he not play.
“Pats Nation, you have supported me unconditionally over the last 8 years,” Hightower wrote. “Through Super Bowl Victories (3 of em!), season-ending injuries, the occasional boomtower TD, strip sacks, charity events and everything in between. I appreciate that support more than you know, and I appreciate that same support and understanding now more than ever. This wasn’t an easy decision, or one I made lightly, but I do feel that it’s the best decision for my family at this time. I’m so grateful for the support of my teammates and coaches as well, and I will try to continue to lead and help as much as I can. 2020 has been a challenging year for our world. I hope you can all continue to be a light in these dark times — more light and great times are ahead. Thank you and stay safe!”
Hightower is probably the most significant so far of the more than 20 players who have opted out of 2020.