Patriots’ Matthew Slater retires from NFL after 16 seasons


Matthew Slater, renowned for his record-setting 10 special teams Pro Bowl appearances in the NFL, declared his retirement after an illustrious 16-season career on Tuesday. In a social media statement shared by the New England Patriots, Slater expressed his deep connection with the game, noting that while it’s time for his relationship with football to evolve, his enduring love for it will span a lifetime. Drafted by the Patriots in 2008, Slater, the son of Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, spent his entire career with the team, initially questioning his roster spot during his early years due to his distinctive role as a dedicated special teams player.

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Former Patriots coach Bill Belichick hailed Slater as the greatest in his role, alongside legends Tom Brady and Lawrence Taylor in their respective positions. Slater, reflecting on his journey, highlighted the surpassing of his initial hopes and dreams during his tenure with the team. Belichick praised Slater’s work ethic, considering him the best core special teams player in NFL history. Slater, a three-time Super Bowl winner, credited his father as his hero and expressed gratitude for the trail he blazed. With 239 games played, he stands as the Patriots’ second-highest in team history behind Brady. Patriots owner Robert Kraft acknowledged Slater’s likely place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and emphasized his impact off the field, praising him as a role model with high moral character.

A team captain for 13 consecutive seasons, Slater, aged 38, delivered powerful postgame speeches, intertwining football and life, guided by his Christian faith. As he bids farewell, Slater’s legacy encompasses not only his on-field achievements but also his integrity, character, and influence beyond the game.

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