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Donta Hightower, New England wins its season opener

Jeff Hanisch - USA TODAY Sports

All speculation for veteran quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots ended Thursday night. Screams for the four-time Super Bowl champion echoed throughout Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., but former Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower set the tone on defense for the Patriots against Pittsburgh.

He injured his shoulder in Super Bowl XLIX (49) on a tackle of Seattle’s running back Marshawn Lynch, but Hightower returned to action against Pittsburgh. He recorded eight total tackles, one for loss, a sack and a quarterback hurry in New England’s 28-21 win over the Steelers.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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