“I was really excited to hear from Bill [Belichick] that they wanted me part of the team moving forward. I’m so thankful that the Patriots saw fit to continue to make an investment in me as a player and as a leader for our team,” Slater told Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “I’m so glad I’ve been able to be here the entirety of my career; it really means a lot to me that I’ve been able to be in one place and be a part of such a great organization.”
That means a lot to Slater in part because his father, Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, played his entire 20-year career with one franchise, the Rams. But the 33-year-old Matthew Slater has no illusions about being guaranteed a 20-year career. As a special teams player, losing a step could easily mean the Patriots decide to move on.
“I think I’ve always approached my career as every year could be my last year because of the nature of my position and the unique role I have on the team as a core special teams player,” Slater said.
Whenever his tenure with the Patriots ends, it will end a unique chapter in NFL history, of a player who made a major contribution to a great dynasty almost exclusively by covering kicks.