Patriots’ Matthew Slater Retires

Matthew Slater‘s NFL tenure has come to an end. The Patriots’ special teams ace announced on Tuesday that he has retired after 16 years with the franchise.

“In 2008, I came here as a young man with hopes and dreams,” his announcement reads in part. “In 2024, I can retire knowing this experience has exceeded any hope or dream I ever had.”

Slater played on one-year contracts in both 2022 and ’23, as the end of his career drew nearer. His final New England pact allowed him to carry on his familiar special teams capacity throughout the season. For the first time in his career, the former fifth-rounder did not see a single offensive snap. Slater was, however, on the field for a personal high 89% of the Patriots’ special teams snaps.

Throughout his run in New England, the UCLA product was one of the league’s best third phase players, something reflected in his accolades. With the exception of the 2018 campaign, Slater was named a Pro Bowler each year from 2011 to 2021. In that span, he also earned a pair of first-team All-Pro nods as well as three second-team honors.

Slater was a key member of New England’s coverage units throughout his career, although he also totaled 35 kick returns. He made 191 tackles across his Patriots tenure, adding another 22 stops in postseason play. The 38-year-old was a member of three Super Bowl-winning squads, another factor which will help his candidacy to join his father Jackie in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In all, Slater will hang up his cleats with 239 games under his belt; that figure ranks second in franchise history to Tom Brady. The former complied just over $30MM in career earnings while garnering a reputation as one of the league’s most highly-respected players. His attention will now turn to his post-playing days.

“I have given all that I possibly can to respect and honor the game,” Slater added. “Though it is time for my relationship with the game to evolve, the love I have for it will last a lifetime.”

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