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New England Patriots Give Dont'a Hightower No. 54 and More AFC East News

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 20:    Dont'a Hightower #45 of the New England Patriots watches the action from the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August  20, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Erik FrenzSenior Writer INovember 30, 2016

One Patriots great to wear the No. 54? Tedy Bruschi. His legacy is not the reason some Patriots people are concerned about linebacker Dont'a Hightower being given No. 54, as reported by Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe.

The real reason? That number belonged to guard Brian Waters. 

This could be a sign that the Patriots are getting ready for life without Waters, which could mean a lot of shuffling on the offensive line. Last year's starting center, Dan Connolly, could resume his spot at guard, which would move offensive lineman Ryan Wendell into the starting center spot. Perhaps Connolly lines up at center, with either Wendell or offensive guard Donald Thomas stepping in at right guard.

Whatever the case, Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia has faced some big challenges in the past, but if the news of Hightower's new number is any indication, 2012 is shaping up to be one of his biggest challenges yet.

Here's some more news around the AFC East to get you back in the swing following Labor Day weekend.

 

Buffalo Bills

According to Tim Graham of The Buffalo News, the Jets will unveil the "Tebowcat" against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 Sportsradio says that offensive lineman Erik Pears, defensive end Mario Williams and cornerback Terrence McGee all returned to practice.

 

New York Jets

According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, Jets head coach Rex Ryan can't see himself being fired.

Conor Orr of The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger says that "[e]ven the Jets' defensive players are curious to see how the Wildcat offense works."

 

Miami Dolphins

Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald talks about the Dolphins' activity at wide receiver and the most likely additions to the roster.

Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post wonders whether Dolphins rookies lived up to expectations in camp.

 

New England Patriots

Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com wonders aloud whether Ryan Wendell is ready to carry the load at center.

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston takes a closer look at New England's signing of defensive end James Develin.

 

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.

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