New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

The greatest special teams coverage player of all time isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. On Friday afternoon, the Patriots announced Matthew Slater will be returning to the team for his 15th season. He had said during the season retirement would be a consideration for him this offseason.

Slater, 37, was in a contract year in 2022. The terms of his new deal were not initially reported by the team.

  • While Slater had noted retirement was a possibility, this decision doesn’t totally come as a surprise. As he weighed that decision in recent weeks, Slater reportedly continued to be a presence in Foxborough. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported in late January that Slater was “a regular at Gillette Stadium” in the weeks following the end of the Patriots season.

    “It is a great honor and blessing to return to the Patriots for my 16th season,” Slater said in a statement released by the team. “I thank God for His continued grace and provision over my career. I look forward to continuing to play under the leadership of Coach Belichick. Thank you to the Kraft family and the entire Patriots organization for allowing me to continue to pursue my childhood dream. See you in the fall. God Bless.”

    “I couldn’t be happier to learn that Matthew Slater has decided to return for his 16th season with the New England Patriots,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Slater’s return. “Matthew’s drive to be the best at what he does will one day earn him enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yet, as stellar as his football career has been, he is an even better person. He is led by his faith and spirituality, dedicated to his family and committed to his craft. There is no better leader for our younger players to follow and no better ambassador for the Patriots organization. He is truly special, and I am grateful that his contributions to the team will continue.”

    “Matt’s incredible career is a testament to his preparation and will to succeed,” head coach Bill Belichick added. “We are thrilled he will be playing this season.”

  • Drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round in 2008 out of UCLA, Slater has spent his whole career in New England. Back in November, he became just the fifth player in franchise history to play 200 games with the team.

    Throughout his career, Slater has become known as not only one of the best special teams coverage players in the league, but all time. He’s made a record 10 Pro Bowl as a special teamer, and has been named an All-Pro five times – another record.

    Slater has also been a valued leader in New England. In 2022, he was named a team captain for the 12th time.

    With Slater coming back, one of the two potential retirement questions has been answered for the Patriots. The other player who had speculated retiring is 35-year-old safety Devin McCourty, who is also a pending free agent.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.