Patriots Legend To Retire After 16 Seasons

The greatest special teams player ever is retiring as a New England Patriot.
Dec 31, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater (18)
Dec 31, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater (18) / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday morning, New England Patriots special teams ace and three-time Super Bowl champion Matthew Slater announced his retirement after 16 illustrious NFL seasons, all with New England.

Slater released his own message through the Patriots, stating that he will always be a "Patriot for life":

Patriots Icon Matthew Slater Announces Retirement

The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, the younger Slater could have a strong case to be honored with a bust in Canton one day as well.

A 2008 fifth-round pick out of UCLA, Slater will end his illustrious career with 10 Pro Bowl nods, five first-team All-Pro Selections, and a spot on both the New England Patriots All-2010s and All-Dynasty teams. He has undeniably earned a spot on the Mount Rushmore of NFL special teamers and has a strong argument for the pole position on that ranking.

Beyond his standout play on the field, Slater was universally respected and admired as a consummate professional in the game, both by teammates and opponents alike. Slater was named a team captain for 13 seasons, clearly evidencing the admiration that his teammates held for him in the locker room.

Patriots legend Tom Brady congratulated Slater on his retirement via Instagram, calling him "one of the best football players I've ever shared a locker room with, and an even better man." Slater was honored for his character and off-field contributions with the Bart Starr Award in 2017 and the Art Rooney Award in 2021.

Prior to the team's regular-season finale against the New York Jets, every Patriots player honored Slater by donning a sweatshirt with his accolades, which further encouraged speculation that it would in fact be Slater's last NFL game.

In total, Slater will retire after playing 239 games in a Patriots uniform, the second-most in franchise history.

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