Malcolm Butler Starts For Patriots; Donta Hightower Returns In Reduced Role

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by Doug Kyed on Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 1:42PM

FOXBORO, Mass. — It seems Malcolm Butler has regained the trust of the New England Patriots’ coaching staff, if he ever lost it to begin with.

Butler started his second consecutive game Sunday against the Carolina Panthers after Eric Rowe started in his place in Week 2. Butler started in Week 3 while Rowe sat out with a groin injury. Butler retained the starting role even with Rowe back from injury in Week 4.

Butler responded by intercepting Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the first quarter.

It seems linebacker Dont’a Hightower is being worked back onto the field after missing two weeks with a knee injury. Hightower was only playing in the Patriots’ base defense and on third-and-long early in the Patriots’ Week 4 matchup with the Panthers. He would leave the field while the Patriots were in sub packages on early downs.

Defensive ends Adam Butler and Deatrich Wise and linebackers Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy were playing over him in nickel.

Hightower didn’t play in the preseason after beginning training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

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