Don’t count Matthew Slater among those players who quickly leave town once the season is over. The New England Patriots special teams ace and team captain has decided to stay put, and according to a report by ESPN’s Mike Reiss has been “a regular at Gillette Stadium in recent weeks.”
That is in itself not a noteworthy development for a majority of players receiving post-season treatment. It can be seen through a slightly different lens when it comes to Slater, though.
The 37-year-old, after all, is still undecided about his future in the NFL.
After 15 seasons, three championships and 10 Pro Bowl nominations, the pending unrestricted free agent Slater is not guaranteed to extend his career into 2023. He will not rush to a decision about whether to come back for another year, though, and has not made any public remarks about his intentions heading into the offseason.
“I’m not sure, and I don’t think it’s fair to the guys in that locker room to just talk about my personal situation,” Slater said in the aftermath of the Patriots’ season-ending loss in Buffalo in January.
A fifth-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2008, Slater has developed into the NFL’s premier special teams player and one of the most respected members in the entire league. The long-time captain appeared in a combined 248 regular season and playoff games for the organization, ranking second behind only Tom Brady’s 326.
With the end of his career far closer than the beginning, everything appears to be on the table for Slater. At least for now, however, it looks as if he is going through a regular offseason schedule.