Matthew Slater to play in 2020, hopes it’s still for Patriots


Longtime New England Patriots captain Matthew Slater, who set the record for special-teams players with his eighth Pro Bowl berth this season, said Wednesday that he has informed the Patriots he would like to finish his career with them.

Slater, 34, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 18.

“It’s hard for me to visualize myself playing anywhere else,” he said from the AFC’s practice at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex ahead of the Pro Bowl. “But that’s not always my decision, so I think that’s out of my control. I’ve expressed publicly and privately to remain a Patriot for the entirety of my career and certainly I still feel that way. So we’ll see how it goes.”

Slater, whose eight Pro Bowl berths eclipsed Steve Tasker (1987, 1990-95) of the Buffalo Bills for the most ever, relayed that he is not ready to retire.

“I think the way I look at it right now, I still love playing football and I still appreciate the opportunities I have to forge relationships and be with my teammates and play the game I love. Every aspect of it I love,” he said.

“As I said after the year, I was going to pray about it with my family. We have. It’s my desire to continue to play. … I’m going to prepare and approach it as though I’m going to continue to play and we’ll see how it goes.”

Slater led the Patriots with 10 special-teams tackles during the regular season and also recovered a fumble and blocked a punt. After injuries limited him to nine games in the 2017 season, he hasn’t missed a game over the past two years.

When Slater was a free agent after the 2017 season, he took a visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers before ultimately re-signing in New England. A reflection of his stature with the team, he is the player assigned to address everyone in the locker room after victories.

ESPN’s Michael DiRocco contributed to this report.

Source : ESPN