The New England Patriots special-teams captain Matthew Slater was activated from the physically unable to perform Thursday. Slater took part in practice, dressing in full pads.
Slater was held out of minicamp earlier this summer due to an undisclosed injury. His return brings a huge boost to the Patriots special teams unit as he’s led the group for several years now.
The seven-year veteran has captained the unit in each of the last three seasons. Slater has been selected to the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons, indicating his true value to the team. He’s arguably the best special-teamer in the game.
Slater’s listed on New England’s roster as a wide receiver though, he rarely lines up in offensive sets. He does possess the athletic ability to fill in from time to time if called upon.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Slater may not fall under the spotlight on Sunday’s, but he lets his gritty play lead by example. Slater’s a humble man who knows and embraces his role on the team.
“It’s a joy to be back on the field with my teammates,” said Slater on his return to the practice. “Real thankful to be back out there and back to football.”
The 28-year-old has 88 tackles over the course of his 6-year career with the Patriots. He has 1 reception for 46 yards which came last season.
Slater was very vague when asked about his injury following his first practice of traning camp. He did credit the team’s training staff with helping him successfully heal and recover, but avoided revealing what the actual ailment was.