The end result may not have been what two Patriots championship veterans would have hoped for, but in the potential final NFL game of their illustrious careers, cornerback Devin McCourty and special teamer Matthew Slater each had impacts on the Patriots playing close with the Bills for a good portion of Sunday afternoon in Buffalo.
McCourty could be going out on a high note after recording an interception, a fumble recovery, and a big pass-breakup in the end zone.
Slater meanwhile, on a largely forgettable day by the Patriots’ special teams unit, still gave the team a chance by forcing a fumble that gave the offense a second chance late in the game.
Both future Patriot (and perhaps NFL) Hall of Famers were mum Sunday about their plans, but plenty of moments that felt like a farewell from a teary-eyed Slater postgame to an emotional David Andrews press conference.
“I’m not sure, and I don’t think it’s fair to the guys in that locker room to just talk about my personal situation,” Slater said postgame.
Slater answered through tears when asked about McCourty’s impact on his life.
“He’s going to make fun of me later for being up here crying and stuff,” Slater replied. “No one I’ve ever played has impacted my life more. Simple as that.”
As for McCourty, he echoed similar sentiments when asked about his own future and the impact Slater had on him.
“I’ve never been in this position like that,” McCourty said. “I think just figuring out what makes me happy, what God has planned in my life going forward. Obviously, I still enjoy playing the game of football, but you can’t do it forever. I think my wife, and my kids, just deciding on what’s best overall for not just me, but the whole family unit and just figuring out what it’s going to be.
“I wish I could give you a better answer right now, but I don’t know. I’m going to enjoy this plane ride back with the guys and just cherish each moment now knowing what’s ahead.”
“He’s 37, I’m 35,” McCourty said about Slater. “You can’t play this game forever. There’s a big unknown with all of that, even what we decide or even what other people decide if you are able to play somewhere and figure that out. But I just always think of, being in these moments, you don’t want to walk away and not be able to speak about what people have meant to you in your life. And Matt’s just been phenomenal for me.”
In the post-Tom Brady era, Slater and McCourty have provided integral leadership roles and are presently the first and second longest-tenured Patriots. Slater was drafted back in 2008 and McCourty in 2010. Both players have been consistently named team captains and are locks for Patriots Hall of Fame red jackets.
Should 2022 be the curtain call, both players can now say they went out doing what they did best, making key contributions.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 8, 2023
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: David Andrews Devin McCourty Matthew Slater