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Patriots Slater Calling It Quits After 16 Seasons

Ian Logue
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February 20, 2024 at 12:33 pm ET

Patriots Slater Calling It Quits After 16 Seasons

🕑 Read Time: 2 minutes

There’s no question that things will look different on the field for the New England Patriots in 2024, but there will be one notable absence when the club takes the field next season.

Long time special teams captain Matthew Slater announced his retirement after 16 seasons on Tuesday, ending an incredible run after joining the Patriots back in 2008.

The former fifth-round pick out of UCLA worked hard in his first season in New England, impressing coaches to the point where he was able to establish himself on special teams during his rookie campaign.

Slater appeared in 14 games that season, seeing time both in the return game while notching 12 tackles.  He became such a force on special teams that teams began needing to account for where he was on the field, with Slater often drawing double-teams.  That remained a strength for him throughout his career, with Slater garnering that type of attention even into his final season in 2023.

Even with that attention, Slater finished 2023 fourth on the club with solo tackles on special teams with five, finishing behind Brenden Schooler (11), Chris Board (7), and Ty Montgomery (6).

One positive is that Slater managed to escape his final season relatively unscathed, with Slater missing just four practices, along with sitting out one game against Denver with a hamstring injury in Week 16.

The veteran was emotional in the release issued by the team, where he reflected back on his terrific career as he walks away from the gridiron.

“For the last 25 years of my life, 16 of them as a New England Patriot, I have been incredibly blessed to be able to emulate the man I saw on those fields in Meridian by playing the game that I love so much,” said Slater in one portion of his statement while referring to his father, Jackie Slater.  “I have given all that I possibly can to respect and honor the game. Though it is time for my relationship with the game to evolve, the love I have for it will last a lifetime.”

Slater closed things out praising his father, saying he hoped he lived up to the standards he set.

“…Dad, you blazed the trail,” wrote Slater.  “You set the standard. I hope I didn’t miss anything. I hope I followed those footsteps well. It was never a burden. Only a blessing. A gift from the Lord…”

And in his typical captain style, Slater closed things out on a high note.

“How do I feel about being a Patriot for life?”

…”AWW YEAH!!!,” he wrote.

Best wishes to Slater on whatever lies ahead, and thank you for a terrific 16 years by a player who is truly a class act.

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About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for PatsFans.com, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.


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