Patriots captain Matthew Slater retires after 16 seasons

Field Level Media

February 20, 2024 at 4:41 pm.

New England Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater announced his retirement Tuesday after 16 seasons.

The three-time Super Bowl champion holds the NFL record for special teams players with 10 Pro Bowl selections.

Slater, 38, played in 264 games (including playoffs) for the Patriots from 2008-23, second only to Tom Brady (326).

“I have given all that I possibly can to respect and honor the game,” he wrote in a lengthy post on social media. “Though it is time for my relationship with the game to evolve, the love I have for it will last a lifetime.”

Slater’s retirement follows last month’s departure of his longtime head coach, Bill Belichick.

“Matthew Slater deserves every accolade someone could receive,” Belichick statement said. “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.”

Originally drafted as a wide receiver in the fifth round in 2008, Slater made his impact on special teams. He served as a kick returner on and off between 2008 and 2016 and amassed 191 tackles in kick and punt coverage.

“In 2008, I came here as a young man with hopes and dreams,” Slater wrote. “In 2024, I can retire knowing this experience has exceeded any hope or dream I ever had.”