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Patriots’ special teams ace Matthew Slater announces retirement after 16 NFL seasons

NFL player Matthew Slater receives the Bart Starr Awards^ 2017 AIA Super Bowl Breakfast on Saturday 4^ 2017 at the Marriott Marquis Houston^ Texas=

New England Patriots special teams contributor and captain Matthew Slater announced his retirement on Tuesday after 16 NFL seasons.

Slater, 38, wrote in a retirement letter posted by the Patriots: “I came here as a young man with hopes and dreams. In 2024, I can retire knowing this experience has exceeded any hope or dream I ever had … “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.”

Called “just about the perfect player” by former Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Slater won all three of his Super Bowl titles alongside Belichick and former teammate Tom Brady, among other future Hall of Famers, and was part of five AFC championship teams. Slater thanked fans, his family, the Patriots and others who helped him along in his NFL journey, including Belichick: “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pursue my childhood dream. Thank you for your belief in me. You took a chance on me and kept me around when many would not have. It is a great honor to know that I played for the best coach in the history of our league.”

Slater joined the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, making it to 10 Pro Bowls – a record for special teams players and was a two-time first-team All-Pro selection (2016, 2019). He finished with 191 career tackles and 138 solo takedowns during his NFL tenure  He logged 22 combine tackles and 13 solo takedowns in the playoffs. Slater also totaled 637 yards on 35 career kick returns.

Editorial credit: Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com

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