BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower has been through just about everything a player can on the football field. So when his fiancee, Morgan Hart, hit hour 17 of labor with the couple’s first child, he reached back and used one of New England’s most emotional victories to inspire her.
Hightower started chanting “28-3! 28-3!” and “Never give up” in the delivery room, using the Patriots comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI as inspiration for Hart to keep going. She did, and a short time later, the couple welcomed a baby boy, Grayson, into the world.
“It was surreal,” Hart told The Boston Globe’s Stan Grossfeld. “It was a long night and a long day, and he kept reminding me, ‘28-3, 28-3,′ meaning you can be behind and come back. Never, never give up.”
According to Grossfeld, Hightower references New England’s epic comeback fairly often. The Patriots fell behind the Falcons 28-3, only to storm back for a 34-28 victory in overtime. Hightower had a giant role in that comeback, sacking Falcons QB Matt Ryan and forcing a fumble with 8:26 to play and the Patriots trailing 28-12.
“Long story short, man, it was a long game against a great team,” recalls Hightower. “But we never gave up. There was an opportunity in the game for a strip-sack that changed the game in a big way. That led to the [Julian Edelman] catch, and down the road, James White, another touchdown.
“We won the Super Bowl because we never gave up,” said Hightower.
That play, and that victory, certainly rank pretty high on Hightower’s all-time list of great moments. But when it comes to the best moment of his life, there is a new event sitting atop them all.
“That’s easy: The birth of my son,” Hightower said assuredly.
Grayson was born on July 16, and weighed in at eight pounds and four ounces.