The Patriots rewarded Matthew Slater for his performance this season with a contract extension, but now the NFL is recognizing him for more than just his football skills.
The New England Patriots special teamer is one of eight finalists for the league’s first Sportsmanship Award, the NFL announced Monday. Slater and seven other finalists were selected out of a field of 32 players — one from each team. The Patriots selected Slater as their nomination last week.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware are the other seven finalists.
The winner, who will receive a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice, will be voted on by current NFL players and announced Jan. 31.
The 29-year-old Slater is in his seventh season with the Patriots and has been special teams captain for the past four seasons. Slater agreed to a two-year, $4 million contract extension this season, after which head coach Bill Belichick said he “would love to have 53 guys like him.”
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