Patriots special teams standout Matthew Slater has had an outstanding career, possibly even a Hall of Fame career.
In 12 seasons, all with the Patriots, Slater has won three Super Bowls and been to the Pro Bowl eight times(the most Pro Bowls for a special teams player). He has been consistent and made a lot of plays on special teams for New England. It’s the little things that win championships, and Slater has done those little things for the Patriots.
Last season, Slater, 34, who made the Pro Bowl, did two things that he has never done before. Slater scored his first touchdown, and he blocked the first punt of his career.
Nate Ebner, who starred on special teams in New England and followed former New England special teams coach and current Giants head coach Joe Judge to New York, knows first hand the greatness of Slater.
“I have nothing but amazing things to say about Matthew Slater,” Ebner recently said on a conference call with the New York media. “He’s one of the highest character people I’ve ever met in my life, and he’s a great, great football player to boot. I learned a lot from Matt coming in as a rookie. He was in his third or fourth year and already was a Pro Bowler. I just watched him work on a day to day basis, and kind of what I’ve spoken to throughout this phone call, just coming to work with a selfless attitude to do the work, to do it to the best of your ability, and whatever is asked of you, do it with a selflessness that puts the team’s priorities above your own. That’s what Matt did forever.
“He was extremely consistent, and that consistency, over time, really speaks to who you are as a person,” Ebner continued. “Matt was among the most consistent people I’ve ever met. I could go on and on about the things that I’ve learned and how we’ve grown together. Matt, as a person, I could literally go on and on about that.”
Slater is the son of Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jackie Slater, and if Slater can continue to play at a high level, maybe he will join his father in Canton one day. However, it won’t be easy. Steve Tasker, who was a great special teams player, is still not in, but he was a semifinalist for the Hall in 2020, so he might eventually get in. Tasker getting in could bode well for Slater down the line. All that being said, even if Slater does not make the Hall, he can one day walk away from the game, knowing that he had a great career.