Ebner: ‘Matt(Slater) was among the most consistent people I’ve ever met’

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. 

Belichick, Saban, Flores, others react to the Giants hiring Joe Judge

On Wednesday, the Giants announced that they had hired former Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge.

The 38-year-old Judge will be introduced to the New York media at a press conference on Thursday.

Over the years, Judge has worked with such great coaches as Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, and on Wednesday, Belichick, Saban, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, and Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater gave their thoughts on Judge.

Here is what they had to say:

“Joe has done an outstanding job. He’s an excellent coach. He understands the game well, works extremely hard and is a very good teacher of fundamentals. Joe picks up concepts and coaching points quickly.  He is an exceptional leader and one of the best coaches I have been around. He has been responsible for coaching units comprised of nearly every player on the roster. That requires an ability to handle many moving parts, make constant adjustments and immediate decisions.  I appreciate Joe’s many contributions to our staff and team and wish him well.”

–Bill Belichick, Head Coach, New England Patriots

“Joe did a fantastic job for our program early on in our tenure in Tuscaloosa. He went on to have a lot of success on Bill’s (Belichick) staff in New England. Joe is one of the brightest young coaches in our profession, and I think he will do a tremendous job as the head coach of the New York Giants. They are getting an extremely smart football coach who is very loyal, organized and diligent about getting the job done. We wish Joe and his entire family the best of luck with the Giants.”

–Nick Saban, Head Coach, University of Alabama

“It has been a real joy working with Joe over the past eight years. Joe’s commitment, work ethic and love for the game are incredible. His intelligence and knowledge of the game set him apart. We have shared many personal and professional mountaintop experiences together. I’m thankful for the time he coached me and know that without his contributions my personal NFL experience would not have been the same. I wish him nothing but the best moving forward. He will always have a fan in me.”

–Matthew Slater, Special Teamer, New England Patriots

“Joe is a coach I have a lot of respect for after working alongside him for seven seasons. He has great attention to detail and leaves no stone unturned in his preparation. His units were always well-coached and among the best in the league. I wish him success in New York.”

–Brian Flores, Head Coach, Miami Dolphins

“Joe and I worked together for three years when he was an assistant at Alabama.  He was high energy, had great attention to detail, and was always wanting to learn more about all aspects of the game.  He’s been recognized for a while as an up and coming coach and I think the Giants are a great fit for him and he’s a great fit for the Giants.”

–Kirby Smart, Head Coach, University of Georgia