Next man up isn't just phrase for the New England Patriots. It's a lifestyle. 

The talk of OTAs in New England has circulated around ​Tom Brady and ​Rob Gronkowski's absence, but that hasn't stopped Bill Belichick's roster from starting their offseason workouts the same way as always. 

Besides, one of the most important stars on the Patriots is already participating in OTAs and leading the way. 

Hightower told the reporters that their workouts will continue, regardless of who is in attendance. 

"I feel like everybody comes in, we're all doing our workouts, we're all doing our film and we're not missing any meeting time," he said. "Whenever he gets back, we'll be glad to have them both, but it's not going to stop us from working."

At least Dont'a Hightower and the defense will be ready for the season, as the talented linebacker anchors Belichick's unit. 

Considering he's one of the few impact players present right now, Hightower had a series of questions waiting for him, which revolved around Brady and Gronk not attending OTAs. As usual, the 28-year-old answered with absolute class. 

Eventually, TB12 and Gronk will reunite with the rest of the Pats, but for now they'll keep grinding with whoever shows up for their offseason training programs.