Patriots’ Pro Bowl Special Teamer Matthew Slater Announces Retirement

Matthew Slater with the New England Patriots in July 2017
Matthew Slater with the New England Patriots in July 2017. Photo by Eric Canha/CSM/REX/Shutterstock (8975188ch)

The New England Patriots’ special teamer Matthew Slater is retiring from the NFL. The 10-time Pro Bowler announced his decision on Tuesday via a letter shared on the Pats’ social media.

Slater wrote in the letter that it “has been an honor to represent the silver, red, white, and blue for 16 years.” He proceeded to thank the Pats’ fans, coaching staff, ownership, his teammates, and the New England community for the contributions they made to his career.

“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.”

Slater, the son of Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, entered the league as the Pats’ fifth-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. He served as a kick and punt returner in his rookie year, before transitioning to special teams coverage duties. In 2011, he was named special teams captain, a role he held until the end of his career.

During his time in the NFL, Slater received 10 Pro Bowl nods and was selected to First-Team All-Pro five times while helping the Pats to three Super Bowl wins. He walks away, having appeared in 239 games, second-most in franchise history behind Tom Brady’s 285 games while contributing with 191 tackles, the most all-time by a Patriot special teamer.