Patriots kickoff 2016: A look at Matthew Slater
Veteran special teams ace Matthew Slater wears the No. 18 jersey, so he is the subject of discussion today as we mark 18 days until the New England Patriots open the 2016 regular season.
Size: 6-foot, 210 pounds
NFL experience: Eight seasons
Selected by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Slater has established himself as one of the best special teamers of his generation. As evidenced by his streak of five consecutive Pro Bowl nods, Slater is the best special teams ace the league has seen this decade.
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In total, Slater has appeared in 119 regular season games for the Patriots as well as 14 postseason games, which adds almost another season to his resume. On any given Sunday, Slater can be found chasing down punt returners and providing excellent leadership for the younger special teamers he takes under his wing (such as Brandon King last year).
Recent installments in Patriots kickoff countdown profile series:
19 days – No. 19 Malcolm Mitchell
21 days – No. 21 Malcolm Butler
22 days – No. 22 Justin Coleman
In 2016, Slater will be counted on to keep up the good work and continue to mentor the likes of King, Kamu-Grugier-Hill and so on. At age 30, Slater still has plenty of good years left in him, and what’s amazing is that only five players on the Patriots’ roster posses more years of NFL experience than the UCLA product. In other words, Slater is at a nice point in his career where he has accumulated plenty of experience, but he is still fresh and ready to rumble on Sundays.
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In recent news, Slater wore the No. 43 jersey during practice while teammate Nate Ebner competed in the Rio Olympics for the U.S. Men’s Rugby Sevens team. If that’s not an example of being a good teammate, I don’t know what is. Good on you, Slater.
Next: 10 Most Exciting Sophomore Pros on Pats Roster
Be sure to stop by Be sure to stop by Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we mark 17 days until the Patriots open 2016 by profiling the owner of the No. 17 jersey, wide receiver Aaron Dobson.