Watch Matthew Slater's tear-jerking final speech with Patriots

Washington Commanders v New England Patriots
Washington Commanders v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Watching the final game of the Patriots' 2023 season, it was evident it was likely the last time we would see Matthew Slater suited up in the red, white, and blue as he was expected to retire this offseason.

That announcement came on Tuesday morning, with the legendary special teams player releasing a lengthy statement about his gratefulness to the organization and sharing some happy memories from his 16-year career.

Although it was an expected move for Slater, Patriots fans took to social media to share their sadness in seeing another pillar of the Patriots dynasty ride off into the sunset. He becomes the latest veteran to retire in recent years, joining Devin McCourty who stepped away from the game just one year ago.

Many players have already taken the time to express their appreciation for Slater, who influenced and inspired new generations of NFL players, not just special teamers, proving even more the impact he has had on the game that others may often overlook.

Among the many posts the Patriots social media team published after the announcement was made was a video of Slater's last locker room speech, which he became known for over the years and something all fans looked forward to seeing after another win.

Unfortunately, there weren't many of them in 2023 or the years before, but there are plenty of speeches to look back on over the years that all of New England will forever cherish, and hearing a good "AWWW YEAH!" will never get old.

This final moment of Slater as a Patriot is certainly a tear-jerker, so you may want to grab some tissues.

Nobody can do that the way Slater can.

Whoever takes over in his place next season and beyond will have big shoes to fill, and it'll be interesting to see if they try to replicate the parts that he became known for or try to implement something brand new.

Regardless, we were so lucky to have the best special teams player to ever play in the NFL be a lifelong Patriot and hopefully, his next stop will be Canton.

Read more from Musket Fire: