Dont'a Hightower is back with the New England Patriots - that could be considered old news at this point. More is coming to light about why he didn't end up signing with some of the other interested teams, though, including the New York Jets. It turns out, he is returning to the defending Super Bowl champions with some vague physical concerns.

Failed physical?

For some time, it seemed like a strong possibility that the Jets were going to swipe the linebacker from their divisional rivals. The team made every effort to sign him, even throwing him what amounted to a birthday party during his visit to the team's headquarters, where his face was plastered throughout the building.

Then, almost out of nowhere, Hightower signed a massive deal with the New England Patriots instead.

Some indication as to what may have happened emerged on Friday. According to Pro Football Talk, when Hightower underwent his physical, the Jets saw something concerning that caused them to scale back their interest significantly. It's not clear what that something was, but it was enough for the Jets to virtually drop out of the free agency race. The rest is obviously history, as he re-signed with the Patriots instead.

Valid concerns

Hightower does have a concerning injury history, which may have come up during his physical evaluation. Knee and shoulder injuries have affected the linebacker throughout his time with the Patriots.

He never missed more than four games in a single season with any ailments, but those are the type of injuries that can linger long after they have supposedly been corrected in surgery.

As long as he's right, however, Hightower is a significant contributor on the football field. Last year, he made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his young career.

If his injury concerns are in the past, the Patriots will be in good shape on defense for years to come. If the concerns the Jets saw on the physical prove to be legitimate, however, the team will have validated their decision to pass on signing him.