Matthew Slater’s ‘Reckless Abandon and Relentless Effort’ Yield His First Pro Bowl Honor

Matthew Slater's 'Reckless Abandon and Relentless Effort' Yield His First Pro Bowl HonorFOXBORO, Mass. — When combing through the Pro Bowl ballot, it's easy to vote for the stars like quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Whether it's a fan with a computer or a player with a paper ballot, they know they can't go wrong with a quick check next to Brady's name.

But for someone like Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater? That takes more time, which speaks to the level of respect that Slater commands in opposing locker rooms.

Slater was voted to his first Pro Bowl this week, and he didn't take the honor lightly. For someone like Slater, his stay in the NFL is defined by continuous amounts of dirty work in the kicking game. Special teamers aren't household names, so it's good to see them earn the respect of their peers.

"I'd like to think I just try to go out and play the game with reckless abandon and relentless effort, and that's always been two things that I focus on," Slater said. "I don't care what happens to my body, and play as hard as you can from whistle to whistle. It means a lot that guys from other teams and coaches would recognize that, and I will receive this honor. It definitely means a lot, but I know now that I'm definitely going to have a target on me and guys are going to be coming for my head. It's going to be harder. It's only going to make my job harder. I'm going to have to work harder, prepare harder, so I can keep trying to help this team."

While the Pro Bowl nod is the most tangible evidence of Slater's reputation across the league, he had started to hear some high praises from some friends on other teams.

"Yeah, you hear things," Slater said, "but I don't really pay attention to it. I've always been a guy to just go about my business and just try to prepare and do my job. What matters most is getting the respect from these guys in this locker room because these are the guys you work with every day. These are the guys you go to battle with — ups and downs, friendships off the field. But it is very humbling that those guys from around the league would have that respect for me, also. It means a lot."

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