All-Time Great Special Teamer Matthew Slater Announces Retirement

The greatest special teamer in NFL history is calling it a career. Matthew Slater announced his retirement through the Patriots’ Twitter account, closing the book on a remarkable 16-year career.

A 5th-round pick out of UCLA in the 2008 draft, Slater’s unparalleled success on special teams blew away expectations, including his own. He earned 10 Pro Bowl nods, was named a First-team All-Pro five times and Second-team All-Pro three times, and won three Super Bowls while playing in two others. He is also a member of the Patriots’ All-2010s and All-Dynasty teams.

Even more impressive than Slater’s accolades on the field was his impact off of it.

Slater was unanimously regarded as a perfect teammate and Patriot, offering sage wisdom and a warm smile to anyone he came across. Slater’s postgame speeches in the locker room, a responsibility he inherited from Tedy Bruschi, are legendary. His unique and thoughtful perspective helped the team maintain focus after the highs of victory and the lows of defeat, a skill that was particularly useful throughout a difficult 2023 season.

Slater was active in the community and a regular face at charitable events hosted by the Patriots. His efforts earned him a Ron Burton Community Service Award recipient in 2013, which recognizes a strong commitment to community service and leadership. Slater was also a longtime NFLPA rep for New England. Even after stepping down from his position in 2021, he never shied away from speaking his mind when he felt the league wasn’t acting in the players’ best interests.

Bill Belichick gushed about the perennial captain throughout the 2023 season, mentioning Slater in the same breath as Tom Brady and Lawrence Taylor while listing the best players at their respective positions in history.  He also advocated for Slater to one day be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, saying during a press conference, “based on what he did during his career, the length of time he did it, and the level he’s done it at…I think he’s the best that’s ever done what he’s done, whether that’s Hall of Fame worthy or not, that’s a different subject that I don’t have a say in. I can’t imagine putting anybody in there ahead of him at that position.”

Taylor Kyles

Taylor Kyles is the lead NFL Analyst for CLNS Media covering players, schemes, and tendencies through a New England Patriots-centric lens.

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