Matthew Slater initially leaned toward opting out but plans to play

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The Patriots have seen several players opt out of the 2020 season and they were on track to see another player make that call before he changed his mind.

Longtime special teams ace and team captain Matthew Slater was that player. He was leaning toward opting out in recent days and told Ian Rapoport of NFL Media that he faced a “tough decision” before reversing course and deciding to play. Mike Garafolo of NFL Media added that other Patriots players were watching to see what call Slater made before making their own commitments.

The NFL and NFLPA have not signed the side agreement modifying the Collective Bargaining Agreement to provide for opt-outs at this point. Once they do, players will have seven days to make their choice and any player that opts out won’t be able to return to play this season.

That means Slater and any other Patriots player could still change their mind about playing. If they do, they’ll join linebacker Dont'a Hightower, tackle Marcus Cannon, safety Patrick Chung, running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale, and offensive lineman Najee Toran in making that call.