Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. Yesterday we looked at No. 19 Brandon LaFell, and a few days before that it was No. 21 Malcolm Butler. Because today marks 18 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 18, wide receiver and special teams ace Matthew Slater.
Selected by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Slater is the third-longest tenured player on the roster. Only Tom Brady and Stephen Gostkowski have been on the team longer than the UCLA product.
Slater comes from a football family. He is one of only six players in the history of the NFL Draft to be the son of a Hall of Famer (Jackie Slater).
Over the course of his seven seasons with the Pats, Slater has appeared in 103 regular season games as well as 12 playoff contests. Listed on the roster as a wide receiver, Slater has one career reception to his name, a 46-yard catch in the 2011 season.
2011 was Slater’s coming-out party, as he made contributions in all three phases of the game. He led the Patriots with 17 special teams tackles and made appearances at safety.
Slater has an impressive Pro Bowl streak developing, as he’s earned a spot on the AFC roster for four years running.
Simply put, Slater is one of the best special teamers of his generation. He is a Belichick Patriot if there ever was one, going about his duty and having faith in the team’s winning mechanism.
This week, Slater turned heads with some impressive plays at wide receiver in joint practices with the Saints. Maybe he’ll get a belated birthday present in the form of a touchdown catch against the Steelers (he turns 30 three days before the season opener).
Off the field, Slater is very active in the community. He is the Patriots’ United Way representative.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 22 Robert McClain, No. 23 Patrick Chung, No. 24 Bradley Fletcher, No. 25 Daxton Swanson, No. 26 Logan Ryan, No. 27 Tavon Wilson, No. 28 James White, No. 29 LeGarrette Blount, No. 30 Duron Harmon, No. 31 Tarell Brown, No. 32 Devin McCourty, No. 33 Dion Lewis, No. 35 Jonas Gray, No. 36 Tyler Gaffney, No. 37 Jordan Richards, No. 38 Brandon Bolden, No. 39 Travaris Cadet, No. 41 Dekoda Watson, No. 42 Xzavier Dickson, No. 43 Nate Ebner, No. 44 Matthew Wells, No. 45 D.J. Lynch and No. 46 james Develin.
Be sure to check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 17 days until Week 1 by profiling the owner of the No. 17 jersey, wide receiver Aaron Dobson.