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Matthew Slater expresses ‘desire’ to continue with Patriots in 2020

Matthew Slater, 34, is scheduled to become a free agent in March.

New England Patriots v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

New England Patriots captain Matthew Slater is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March, and will turn 35 in September.

Slater sees himself playing football beyond it.

“I think the way I look at it now, I still love playing football and I still appreciate the opportunities I have to forge relationships and be with my teammates and play the game I love,” Slater told ESPN’s Michael DiRocco during the AFC’s Pro Bowl practice in Orlando on Wednesday, via Mike Reiss. “Every aspect of it I love. As I said after the year, I was going to pray about with my family. We have. It’s my desire to continue to play. ... I’m going to prepare and approach it as though I’m going to continue to play and we’ll see how it goes.”

New England previously signed Slater to a two-year deal in the spring of 2018, with a roster bonus due at the start of the subsequent league year. His current tenure is outstretched by only quarterback Tom Brady and kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

A 2008 fifth-round draft choice out of UCLA, Slater has served as captain of the kicking game since the 2011 season. The gunner earned his eighth Pro Bowl selection during the 2019 season.

A fifth AP first-team All-Pro selection followed.

It saw Slater play a Patriots-high 73 percent of the snaps on special teams. He recorded 10 tackles, a blocked punt and his first career touchdown in the process.

“It’s hard for me to visualize myself playing anywhere else,” Slater told ESPN. “But that’s not always my decision, so I think that’s out of my control. I’ve expressed publicly and privately to remain a Patriot for the entirety of my career, and certainly I still feel that way, so we’ll see how it goes.”