Hightower says he's a game-time decision Sunday

878313.jpg

Hightower says he's a game-time decision Sunday

FOXBORO -- Dont'a Hightower gave as best an update on his injured hamstring as he could Friday.
"Right now it's a day-to-day thing. It's going to be up to team athletic trainer Jim Whalen and Coach Belichick," he said in the locker room. "But each day it's getting better, I'm feeling better, I'm moving around great. So it's going to be a game-time decision; it's going to be up to them."
Hightower was injured during the first quarter last Sunday when he ran through Bills running back C.J. Spiller en route to sacking quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He played just nine of 77 offensive snaps.
"It was definitely hard going down, but Tracy White did a really good job of stepping in and doing my job," he said. "Definitely well-prepared. He's a great player. Rob Ninkovich and everybody else did a great job picking up where I left off. Hopefully I'll be able to get out there this weekend so we don't have to go through that again."
When asked if he was fighting through pain, the linebacker shook his head.
"No pain. I'm out there, I'm running around and doing everything I can but again, each day it's a day-by-day thing and we're going to have to see about that."
New England plays the Broncos Sunday. If Hightower is inactive, not only would it be the first missed start of his rookie career, it would be the first missed game.
The decision is out of his hands at this point.
"It's up to coach," Hightower said. "If he feels like I'm ready to go, then I'm going to go out there and I'm going to do what I can."

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo still has faith in New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones.

The cornerback, who was the Patriots' top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, struggled mightily in his rookie season. He fumbled his way out of a role on special teams, where he served as a returner.

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Google Play | Spotify

He then failed to perform at nickel cornerback, and the Patriots traded for Eric Rowe, who pushed Jones down the depth chart and often onto the inactives on game day. Jones' emotional outburst during Week 5 when he got ejected for punching Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins didn't help.

Despite all that, Mayo thinks Jones will turn things around.

"I think Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year," Mayo said in the latest edition of "The Ex Pats" podcast. "I want people to remember a rookie [Matthew] Slater. A rookie Matt Slater was terrible. He would sit here on this podcast and tell you he's terrible, and I think Cyrus Jones is more athletic than Matthew Slater. I think -- I know for a fact, because I've seen it time and time again, the biggest leap not only in athleticsm but also in confidence is from year one to year two."

Jones admitted to the Baltimore Sun that his rookie was "hell." He added he felt "embarrassed." The 23-year-old cornerback said he didn't feel like he was a part of New England's Super Bowl LI win.

“Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently,” Jones wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.

Mayo seems to think Jones has learned his lesson, and will rebound with the help of Bill Belichick. And the Patriots may need Butler to be the most-improved player. Malcolm Butler's future with New England has become uncertain, and the remaining top cornerbacks are over 6-feet.

The Patriots need a slot corner. Jones is the next man up.

"As much as the media has kind of battered this young kid, Bill's going to boost him up this entire offseason," Mayo said. "Bill -- he's the best at putting lowlights up after a game . . . But during the offseason, he kind of -- it's individualized coach. He knows this guy's confidence is in the toilet. He's going to boost him up as much as possible.

"You know [Jones] can play football. He played in the SEC. He played on the top team on the country, and was a standout performer. So this is a confidence issue. This entire thing is a confidence issue, and I think they fix that."

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

PHOENIX -- The Patriots pulled off what many considered a surprise free-agent signing when they acquired corner Stephon Gilmore. As it turns out, before they picked up the former Bills cover man, they inquried about a separate move that would have been even more eye-opening. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, ahead of coming to a deal with Gilmore, the Patriots were among the teams that spoke to the Seahawks about a potential trade for Richard Sherman.

MORE PATRIOTS

During the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Arizona Biltmore, Seattle coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that multiple teams have contacted the Seahawks about Sherman. But, Carroll said, "I don't see anything happening at all."

Sherman, who turns 29 next season, will make $11.431 million for 2017. He's due $11 million in the final year of his contract in 2018.