How do we feel about Matthew Slater announcing his retirement?

Mystic Merlin

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Sep 21, 2007
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Good for him, he had nothing left to accomplish and is still a young man with his health (and a family). He was an indispensable presence on the Pats, as has been well-documented here and elsewhere. It’s eye-opening to consider that he was the second longest tenured Patriots player of the entire dynasty run behind Brady; he surpassed the likes of Vinatieri, Bruschi, Law, Vrabel, Wilfork, Edelman, Faulk, etc, in tenure.

He’s a Hall of Fame player, even if they don’t vote him in, and by all accounts an inner circle Hall of Fame person and leader.
 

Kliq

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Having the best special teams guy ever was always a fun quirk of Belichick's greatness and the Pats unorthodox approach to team building.
 

mwonow

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Sep 4, 2005
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It is time, but ngl, it's a little sad and misty-ish in chez mwonow right now.
 

E5 Yaz

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They really should waive the entry ruler for the Patriots HoF for players such as Brady, Gronk and Slater (and Belichick, of course) as a way of recognizing that their contributions were on a level greater than those who go through the voting process
 

tmracht

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Absolutely loved Slater, he was such a difference maker in so many ways. If Tasker isn't in the HOF it's tough to say Slater should be, but man they both should be (and probably Hester too).

The command of double teams on kick coverage was critical and he still beat it often.
The second Rams super bowl...chefs kiss. Diving to push it at the 5 in the first quarter, downing at the 3 in the 3rd. Later in the 3rd eats up the returner for a loss on the PR. In a game that was 3-0 midway through the 3rd, those are critical plays.

Just an absolute monster on ST and a joy to watch. Going to miss him.
 

RSN Diaspora

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Jul 29, 2005
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Well, it's official now. The whole statement is worth a read, but the final lines were a little dusty room-inducing:

"How do I feel about being a Patriot for life?"
..."AWW YEAH!!!"

Have any of us ever felt like this about a special teams guy? Even Mosi didn't have this much impact.
 

Jim Ed Rice in HOF

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Jul 21, 2005
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He's got a career in farewell message writing ahead of him if he wants it. That was well done.

We knew it was coming given the unofficial send off at the last game but it doesn't make it easier to hear.
 

hube

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Apr 4, 2010
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Love the thread title.

Great Patriot, great person. Not often a special teams specialist lasts as long as he did at such a high level. He will be missed.
 

InstaFace

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Where does he rank on the great patriots of the dynasty list?

Brady
Gronk
Seymour
Bruschi
Troy Brown
Edelman
Matt Light
Welker
Mankins
Wilfork
McCourty
Law
McGinest
Hightower
Gostkowski
Vrabel
Mayo
Vollmer
White
Warren
Mason
Branch
Cannon
Moss
Connolly
Van Noy
(etc)

There's a few names obviously above him, and some names I think just as obviously below him... is he a top-10 dynasty player? I'm not sure.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
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Great question, @InstaFace - His on-field contributions were far smaller than many, many others, if only because special teams play offers a lot fewer chances for impact, and his great plays typically helped the Patriots in the field position game. He didn't score touchdowns or even return kicks. He just made tackles. ("just")

But as a person and leader, his contribution was invaluable. Everyone in that organization speaks incredibly highly of him. I just think it's really hard for us to know just how big that impact - which was mostly in terms of leadership - was. So hard to measure.

What I think is clear is that he's probably not an NFL hall of fame because people who played his position just don't make it to Canton. But in terms of being a Patriots HOFer, he's an absolute lock, no doubter, all-time great Patriot.
 

RSN Diaspora

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Where does he rank on the great patriots of the dynasty list?

(list deleted for space)

There's a few names obviously above him, and some names I think just as obviously below him... is he a top-10 dynasty player? I'm not sure.
Probably not (side note: surprised not to see Adam Vinatieri make your list). A sustained 20-yr run like they had is unprecedented in today's NFL, and that length of time and the sheer number of conference and SB titles means that there are just too many players who saw more field time and had the opportunity to make bigger plays than even our best non-kicker special teamer.
 

thehitcat

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I'm happy that he goes out with his health seemingly intact. Sad for me and I feel a bit older and bluer today because I won't get to see him suit up again.
 

Salva135

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Oct 19, 2008
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You know you're special when you've got Brady in the room and yet you get the honors of the post-game rally. His excellence went with not being noticed often. Looking forward to seeing what his does post-career. He'd be excellent at either coaching or media.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Absolutely loved Slater, he was such a difference maker in so many ways. If Tasker isn't in the HOF it's tough to say Slater should be, but man they both should be (and probably Hester too).

The command of double teams on kick coverage was critical and he still beat it often.
The second Rams super bowl...chefs kiss. Diving to push it at the 5 in the first quarter, downing at the 3 in the 3rd. Later in the 3rd eats up the returner for a loss on the PR. In a game that was 3-0 midway through the 3rd, those are critical plays.

Just an absolute monster on ST and a joy to watch. Going to miss him.
Hester got in. He is in the HoF class of 2024.
 

jmcc5400

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Sep 29, 2000
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Where does he rank on the great patriots of the dynasty list?

Brady
Gronk
Seymour
Bruschi
Troy Brown
Edelman
Matt Light
Welker
Mankins
Wilfork
McCourty
Law
McGinest
Hightower
Gostkowski
Vrabel
Mayo
Vollmer
White
Warren
Mason
Branch
Cannon
Moss
Connolly
Van Noy
(etc)

There's a few names obviously above him, and some names I think just as obviously below him... is he a top-10 dynasty player? I'm not sure.
Rodney, Vinatieri and Amendola not being on that list (and I'm sure others that neither of us had at the top of mind) really drives home our embarrassment of riches.
 

Hoya81

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Feb 3, 2010
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Absolutely loved Slater, he was such a difference maker in so many ways. If Tasker isn't in the HOF it's tough to say Slater should be, but man they both should be (and probably Hester too).

The command of double teams on kick coverage was critical and he still beat it often.
The second Rams super bowl...chefs kiss. Diving to push it at the 5 in the first quarter, downing at the 3 in the 3rd. Later in the 3rd eats up the returner for a loss on the PR. In a game that was 3-0 midway through the 3rd, those are critical plays.

Just an absolute monster on ST and a joy to watch. Going to miss him.
I think Slater gets in. His resume is stronger than Tasker’s: more Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections, 3 rings and multiple NFL good citizen awards (Bart Starr and Art Rooney trophies). I also think the writers will like the idea of enshrining the first father-son player duo in the HoF.
 

E5 Yaz

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BB's statement:

“Matthew Slater deserves every accolade someone could receive,” Belichick said, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “He is a once in a lifetime person, and the best core special teams player in NFL history. His daily, weekly, and yearly work ethic, paved the way for his unsurpassed performance. Matthew is the finest example of what an intense competitor and human being should be. He has been a great role model for the teams [(players and coaches)] that I have coached.

“Matthew is exceedingly kind, and supremely loved and respected by all his peers. I am one of many who feel incredibly blessed to be his teammate, coach, and friend.”
https://www.nbcsports.com/nfl/profootballtalk/rumor-mill/news/bill-belichick-matthew-slater-is-the-best-core-special-teams-player-in-nfl-history
 

Deathofthebambino

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Apr 12, 2005
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Belichick statement:

View: https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1759978715239653780


Bill Belichick statement on Matthew Slater: “Matthew Slater deserves every accolade someone could receive. He is a once in a lifetime person, and the best core special teams player in NFL history. His daily, weekly, and yearly work ethic, paved the way for his unsurpassed performance. Matthew is the finest example of what an intense competitor and human being should be. He has been a great role model for the teams players & coaches) that I have coached. Matthew is exceedingly kind, and supremely loved and respected by all his peers. I am one of many who feel incredibly blessed to be his teammate, coach, and friend.”
 

BigSoxFan

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May 31, 2007
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16 years and I don’t think I ever read a quote about Slater that wasn’t along the lines of “this is the best dude ever”.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Nov 17, 2010
14,582
Give this man a spot on the coaching staff now. At a minimum, he's a leader of men and will be good at doing something on a coaching staff.
 

Manuel Aristides

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Apr 7, 2009
233
Slater in many ways symbolizes the best of the Belichick Era. He will obviously be profoundly missed, but it feels fitting for them to exit the franchise together.
 

Manuel Aristides

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Apr 7, 2009
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Give this man a spot on the coaching staff now. At a minimum, e's a leader of men and will be good at doing something on a coaching staff.
He's spoke about wanting to minister in his post-playing career, is my memory. But hard agree, if he would accept any position, they'd be lucky to have him in it.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Apr 12, 2005
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I don't know how folks can understate what he meant to this team (forget off the field, where he was one of the undisputed leaders of that locker room for a long time) on the field.

Slater made play after play after play when our offense would bog down and we'd need to flip field position, he did all of the little things right, he was a guy that BB could just put on the field and know he'd make the right play, every single time. I would bet even money BB would argue that Slater was as important to the Pats success as all but a handful of guys. He is the actual physical embodiment of the hokey "Patriot Way" phrase.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Apr 12, 2005
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He's spoke about wanting to minister in his post-playing career, is my memory. But hard agree, if he would accept any position, they'd be lucky to have him in it.
This is where I think he's headed, minister, NFL chaplain, something along those lines. He ran the Bible study group for the Pats throughout his time here, a bible study group that he told a bunch of us at one time was one of his proudest achievements, because they had the highest attendance of any team's group in the NFL year after year, at one point reaching like 50 guys at a time.
 

BigSoxFan

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This is where I think he's headed, minister, NFL chaplain, something along those lines. He ran the Bible study group for the Pats throughout his time here, a bible study group that he told a bunch of us at one time was one of his proudest achievements, because they had the highest attendance of any team's group in the NFL year after year, at one point reaching like 50 guys at a time.
He’s basically what Easterby pretended to be.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
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An excerpt from 53rd Man on Slater getting drafted:

- - -

He was just hoping by this point to get an invite to an NFL camp. He figured that being drafted was still a long shot, but he understood that there might be a pathway through the route of undrafted free agency.

His mother Annie, however, had loftier visions.

“I believe you’re going to get drafted,” she told him. “I believe the Lord is going to do some things.”

Through four rounds of the 2008 NFL draft, there was nothing but silence. It was looking more and more, with each passing moment, that the only route to the NFL was by receiving a camp invitation as a free agent.

Then Matthew’s life changed forever.

“My phone rings. It’s the fifth round of the draft. Surely this isn’t someone calling to draft me. It’s probably a team trying to get the jump on free agency. I remember looking at the phone – Boston number. I don’t know anyone from Boston.”

The voice on the other end of the line is unfamiliar. But the words spoken were ones that Matthew would never forget.

“This is Berj Najarian of the New England Patriots, here with Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick. We’re going to draft you with the 153rd pick. I’ll put you on with Mr. Kraft and Bill.”

Matthew was speechless. “I sat there with my dad, we just looked at each other, not saying anything. This can’t be happening. It just felt surreal.”

Najarian passed the phone around and soon Slater found himself talking with Belichick. Brown University – a school Slater considered attending – is not far from Foxboro, Massachusetts, where the Patriots’ facility resides. Instead, Matthew went to UCLA – some 3,000 miles from 1 Patriots Place. And seemingly out of nowhere, he was on the line with the legendary head coach.

“I’ll never forget that first conversation with Bill,” Slater says. “He says to me, ‘We’re gonna take you here with this pick and look, I don’t know what position you’re gonna play, so if the media’s asking you, don’t tell them anything. You don’t know what you’re gonna do, but the reason I’m brining you here is to help us in the kicking game. That’s what your role is gonna be. We’ll figure out a position. Don’t worry about that.’ I’m thinking, this is a team, with this pedigree, drafting someone who never started a game in college, a receiver who never caught a pass, and they’re telling this kid we’re going to draft you to help us in the kicking game.”

Slater smiles, recalling the almost absurdity of it all.

“I’m thinking, this makes no sense to me. My dad has been around pro football for 40 years and had never seen anything like that happen. For us it was like our parting of the Red Sea moment, because we know what I had gone through on and off the field, and to see God’s unmerited favor in our lives. When I think about it, I still get chills. It was strictly God’s grace in my life. I get that call and I’m super excited, not really knowing what to expect.”

The moment he got off the phone and witnessed the selection being made on television, he turned to his father, and the two of them, true to character, spent the first minutes following this life changing event, in prayer together, thanking God for His goodness in their lives.

Matthew Slater, son of Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, had seen his dream come true. Like father, like son.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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An excerpt from 53rd Man on Slater getting drafted:

- - -

He was just hoping by this point to get an invite to an NFL camp. He figured that being drafted was still a long shot, but he understood that there might be a pathway through the route of undrafted free agency.

His mother Annie, however, had loftier visions.

“I believe you’re going to get drafted,” she told him. “I believe the Lord is going to do some things.”

Through four rounds of the 2008 NFL draft, there was nothing but silence. It was looking more and more, with each passing moment, that the only route to the NFL was by receiving a camp invitation as a free agent.

Then Matthew’s life changed forever.

“My phone rings. It’s the fifth round of the draft. Surely this isn’t someone calling to draft me. It’s probably a team trying to get the jump on free agency. I remember looking at the phone – Boston number. I don’t know anyone from Boston.”

The voice on the other end of the line is unfamiliar. But the words spoken were ones that Matthew would never forget.

“This is Berj Najarian of the New England Patriots, here with Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick. We’re going to draft you with the 153rd pick. I’ll put you on with Mr. Kraft and Bill.”

Matthew was speechless. “I sat there with my dad, we just looked at each other, not saying anything. This can’t be happening. It just felt surreal.”

Najarian passed the phone around and soon Slater found himself talking with Belichick. Brown University – a school Slater considered attending – is not far from Foxboro, Massachusetts, where the Patriots’ facility resides. Instead, Matthew went to UCLA – some 3,000 miles from 1 Patriots Place. And seemingly out of nowhere, he was on the line with the legendary head coach.

“I’ll never forget that first conversation with Bill,” Slater says. “He says to me, ‘We’re gonna take you here with this pick and look, I don’t know what position you’re gonna play, so if the media’s asking you, don’t tell them anything. You don’t know what you’re gonna do, but the reason I’m brining you here is to help us in the kicking game. That’s what your role is gonna be. We’ll figure out a position. Don’t worry about that.’ I’m thinking, this is a team, with this pedigree, drafting someone who never started a game in college, a receiver who never caught a pass, and they’re telling this kid we’re going to draft you to help us in the kicking game.”

Slater smiles, recalling the almost absurdity of it all.

“I’m thinking, this makes no sense to me. My dad has been around pro football for 40 years and had never seen anything like that happen. For us it was like our parting of the Red Sea moment, because we know what I had gone through on and off the field, and to see God’s unmerited favor in our lives. When I think about it, I still get chills. It was strictly God’s grace in my life. I get that call and I’m super excited, not really knowing what to expect.”

The moment he got off the phone and witnessed the selection being made on television, he turned to his father, and the two of them, true to character, spent the first minutes following this life changing event, in prayer together, thanking God for His goodness in their lives.

Matthew Slater, son of Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, had seen his dream come true. Like father, like son.
Now THAT made me well up. Thanks so much.
 

lars10

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Jul 31, 2007
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Great question, @InstaFace - His on-field contributions were far smaller than many, many others, if only because special teams play offers a lot fewer chances for impact, and his great plays typically helped the Patriots in the field position game. He didn't score touchdowns or even return kicks. He just made tackles. ("just")

But as a person and leader, his contribution was invaluable. Everyone in that organization speaks incredibly highly of him. I just think it's really hard for us to know just how big that impact - which was mostly in terms of leadership - was. So hard to measure.

What I think is clear is that he's probably not an NFL hall of fame because people who played his position just don't make it to Canton. But in terms of being a Patriots HOFer, he's an absolute lock, no doubter, all-time great Patriot.
It'd be interesting if there were a stat that showed YAR (Yards above replacement).. basically extra yards gained on kickoffs when Slater wasn't on the field or against league average kick coverage, because there were times in his prime where it seemed like Slater was making every tackle on special teams. I would also imagine that BB thinks that field position gains are almost as important points..especially obviously in close games. How many Super Bowls did Slater turn by pinning the other team back 10-15 more yards than if he hadn't been there?
 

InstaFace

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To be fair the list also contains Dan Connolly and Marcus Cannon.
Truly, the Snark All-Stars never take a play off.

Rodney, Vinatieri and Amendola not being on that list (and I'm sure others that neither of us had at the top of mind) really drives home our embarrassment of riches.
Yeah, I took the obvious names and then supplemented a bit with some help from the franchise AV leaderboard. Went as far down as Kyle Van Noy at 39 AV. Which makes it all the more surprising - for all the warts AV has as an all-in-one stat - that Vinatieri comes in at 33, Rodney Harrison at 37 and Amendola at 25. Approximate Value doesn't even bother to approximate a value for purely special-teams players besides punters and kickers, so Slater is not even rated by that stat. Kickoffs and punts are 11-12% of all plays in a football game (special teams as a whole, 17-18%), so he was on the field only about 1/4th as much as the offense or defense. To consider him top-10 in the dynasty, I guess you'd have to really put a huge weight on the leadership component. Which I agree is of huge value, even if impossible to quantify.

I think if we're rating Slater's fine qualities, besides the leadership and his reliability of decision-making as a kicking-game gunner, we should also not underrate his availability. In his 16 seasons in the NFL (wow), he only missed more than 4 games in 1 season (2017), and even then still managed to play more than half the games then, too (9/16 + all 3 playoffs). Yes, he's got the advantage of genes, he's playing fewer snaps, and luck is a factor... but it's also true that injury luck is sort of the residue of design, in terms of preparation and commitment to strength and conditioning and stretching and nutrition and all the rest. He demonstrated that you can play a very injury-prone position in a very injury-prone sport and still train and prepare your way into a long run of health. I have no doubt that's something Belichick has emphasized to the man's teammates over the years.
 
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