BOSTON (CBS) –  Football is a brutal sport, and by the time training camp, the preseason, the regular season and the postseason wrap up, you’d be hard pressed to find one player on the 53-man roster not dealing with some sort of injury.

Dont’a Hightower was listed with a shoulder injury ever since Week 14, and now that the season is over the linebacker plans to have surgery on a torn labrum, according to Ian Rappoport of the NFL Network.

The 24-year-old, third-year pro out of Alabama played an integral role on the Patriots defense this season, and really stepped up his game when fellow backer Jerod Mayo was lost for the season.

Hightower and Jamie Collins combined to be one of the most exciting, young defensive duos in the NFL. Hightower, a two-time collegiate national champion, can now add a Super Bowl ring to his growing resume.

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