Patriots: Slater eager to help Pats again

Photo: Matt Slocum/AP

There are some guys who are just put on this earth to be football players, one of them is Matthew Slater.

After agreeing to come back for a 15th season, Slater met with the media on Thursday morning to discuss why he came back and how that decision making process looked, among other things.

“I’m certainly so thankful to be sitting in this position talking to you guys this time of year as a New England Patriots, still with an opportunity to play the game that I love,” he said. “I’m extremely humbled with what God has done with my life and my career with the ways he’s blessed me and continues to provide. I’m very thankful to my family, to my peers, to this organization, there’s too many people to thank, but I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be back as a Patriot and I’m excited about continuing to pursue my childhood dream.”

Everyone talks about playing until the love of the game is no longer there. In Slater’s case, that fire still burns as bright as ever. Not just on the field, but off it as well.

“I obviously still have a very, very strong love for this game and when I say that, I don’t just mean what happens on Sundays. I truly enjoy the preparation, the process of football. More than anything, I enjoy the relationships football has provided me with over the course of the last 14 years and everything that comes along with it.

“I’m a man now who is still able to play a child’s game, a game that I’ve been around for my entire life.”

Slater has been a role model for other pro athletes in the community during his time here and he is fully aware that he’s been able to help a lot of people because of the platform the Patriots provide, another thing that influenced the decision for everyone close to him.

“Just talking with my family, deciding what was best for us, it felt like this was a great opportunity for us to pursue football, but then also pursue all the things that come with it,” he said. “The platform football gives us as a family to do things we’re passionate about, like the relationship building, like the things in the community’s, it just made sense for our family. All that being said, the Patriots had to want me back, I wasn’t going anywhere else.”

When asked, Slater acknowledged he and Devin McCourty were sort of a package deal and talked about coming back together.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he said with a huge smile. “I was joking with him, I said ‘I’m not coming back unless you’re coming back,’ so I realize how special it is to have a chance to play alongside a guy for 13 years and Devin’s not just anyone. Devin’s one of the best men I’ve ever known. He’s been a tremendous example for me to follow both on and off the football field.

“Honestly, at this point in my career it would be, I think, tough playing without him. There’s just certain guys you learn to lean on and depend on and he’s one of those guys. I’m thankful his situation worked out the way that it did and mine worked out the way that it did and we get a chance to do this one more year.”

Slater is all in for 2022 and a quick conversation with Coach Belichick sealed the deal.

“It was nice to have a conversation with Bill about where he saw me, where he saw me moving forward,” Slater added. “Where I saw myself, what that would look like. I appreciate coach taking the time to sit down with me and discuss that. I’ve always appreciated coach just for the opportunity he’s given me to be a part of this football team and that’s something I’ve never taken for granted.”