Speaking to reporters after Thursday's organized team activities, Hightower said he's found his journey on "The Patriot Way" to be fun at times even though it has entailed plenty of hard work.
"It's not for everybody," Hightower said. "It's definitely harder than most places, but I mean, that's part of it. A lot of guys know that when they come here. But, I mean, in the locker room, it's not Bill's job to make this fun and this atmosphere fun; it's the guys around it."
Hightower's comments come days after former Patriots defensive end Cassius Marsh said he hated his brief time with the Patriots last season. Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson also has been a vocal critic of the Patriots' reputation for supposedly not having any fun, saying he wouldn't want to win Super Bowl titles if it meant being miserable.
"Every guy in that locker room, I love like a brother," Hightower said. "We have fun, whether it's out here struggling together -- blood, sweat and tears -- or we're back in the locker room or we're hanging out outside of football. So, there's a time and place for everything, but we know whenever we walk through the building, it's time to work."
While Belichick's approach to running an NFL team clearly doesn't work for everyone, it appears his system has its share of advocates. As safety Devin McCourty pointed out Thursday, it's hard to argue with success.
"We got a couple guys here from Cleveland and they went 0-16, they told me that wasn't fun," McCourty said. "I am going to try and stay on this side of it."