To see the softer side of someone tough enough go by handles like “Zeus” and “Boomtower” as one of the NFL’s hardest-hitting linebackers, there are two roads you can take.
One is at the keyboard of your computer, accessing — if you’ll pardon a term from the 1990s — the information superhighway. Simply connect to the internet, start a search engine and enter the names of Dont’a Hightower and Stan Grossfeld, the superb reporter and photographer for The Boston Globe.
In no time, you’ll come upon the June 24 profile of a husband and father at peace with a difficult choice. It’s where you’ll read why Hightower opted out of last season to remain home in Tennessee with wife Morgan and their newborn son, and see him joyfully lifting up 1-year-old Grayson — both beaming with bright smiles.
The second way is actually at the wheel of your car. Head north up Route 1, going away from Gillette Stadium. Before you know it, you’ll find Hightower, smiling again. This time he’s larger than real life and is seen cradling his other baby.
They face you from a billboard on the Southbound side. The rugged linebacker and his tiny pup, Meko, with her cute button eyes, cute button nose and cute floral scarf. A second dog at their side looks longingly into your heart with the kind of eyes no dog lover can resist.
This can’t-miss sign is part of a campaign launched by PETA last winter to ask, no remind, no implore owners to bring their pets in out of the cold. “ALL DOGS, BIG OR SMALL, DESERVE TO LIVE INDOORS,” it says. Hightower delivers the same message in a related video.