Among the most intriguing storylines for the New England Patriots this offseason is the future of long-time team captain Matthew Slater. The 37-year-old is not guaranteed to extend his career into what would be a 16th season in the NFL.
So far, Slater has not announced a decision yet. The fact that he is taking his time should not necessarily be seen as a sign that he is trending one way over the other, something he pointed out during a recent appearance on Tim Hatch Live.
“It’s something that we’re still very much praying through,” Slater said during the interview that was filmed two weeks ago. “I have to be honest, it’s one of the most difficult decisions of my life. You know you have a passion and a love for something, but things change in life. Things change, and it’s not just about what I want now. I have to consider what Shahrzad wants, I have to consider what’s best for our children.
“So, we’re praying through it. I’m not closing the door, I’m not saying, ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay.’ I’m going to take my time and hopefully hear from the Lord on it.”
Slater originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2008. While having virtually no impact at his listed position of wide receiver, he developed into the NFL’s premier special teams player of his generation.
As such, he appeared in a combined 248 regular season and playoff games for the organization and helped bring three Super Bowls to New England. Additionally, he earned himself 10 Pro Bowl nominations.
His impact on the Patriots and the NFL extends far beyond the field, however. Slater is also one of the most respected players in the entire league and a one-time Bart Starr Award winner. The knowledge and leadership he developed through his career is also something he wants to put to use after his retirement, whenever it will come.
“I will always consider myself a New England Patriot,” he said when asked if coaching would be something he would consider. “So, if I can serve in the role of a coach, administrator on the staff, that’s something that I would welcome with open arms. We’ll see. There’s always change in football, so we’ll see what plays out.
“But I think the Lord has given me so much and taught me so much, it’d be a shame just to end with me. I’d love to continue to pass those things along to the next generation.”