Dont'a Hightower rumors: Visiting with Steelers

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But in the end, the birthday love weren't enough to make the Patriots free-agent linebacker sign on the dotted line. The New York Jets have been swept up in the chaos, as they have signed players like tackle Kelvin Beachum and kicker Chandler Catanzaro.

Hightower is coming off a Pro Bowl season and made the game-changing play in New England's Super Bowl win over the Falcons when he forced a fumble from Matt Ryan on a sack. In 2015, when they signed running back DeAngelo Williams and a year ago tight end Ladarius Green. Of all the names associated with the Steelers recently, Adam Schefter of ESPN had news of a very unexpected free agent heading to Pittsburgh.

Hightower has spent his entire National Football League career with the Patriots, who drafted him 25th overall in 2012.

This will not be the first time that Hightower has broken bread with Steelers brass.

Patriots sign free agent running back Rex Burkhead: The move was announced Tuesday.

This physical force of nature that goes by the name of Dont'a Hightower has been known to pack a punch, the kind of punch his prospective new employer, the Steelers, have been seeking.

Hightower's interest in the Jets could be genuine.

It's been suggested the Jets' offer is $3 million higher than the Patriots' offer.

The Jets could really use a player like Hightower, but news of their pitch leaking is especially disheartening given that the industry assumption now remains that he'll head back to New England on a deal that pays around $10 million per year, as La Canfora reported on Sunday.

Appearing on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher and Rich Monday morning, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora echoed Rapoport's report that the Jets and Titans expect Hightower to return to the Patriots. Whether Dont'a Hightower signs a contract or not remains to be seen.



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