Matthew Slater: Hard To Understand How Thursday Games Cater To Player Safety

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FOXBORO, Mass. — It’s easy to see why NFL players aren’t exactly excited when their Thursday night game rolls around.

The New England Patriots take on the Miami Dolphins this Thursday night after playing the New York Jets on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Patriots will fit in a practice Tuesday and a walk-through Wednesday, but the abbreviated schedule takes a toll on players’ bodies.

Patriots NFL players association representative Matthew Slater voiced his displeasure with the mid-week game Monday in the locker room.

“I can’t sit here as the player rep of this team and say that I’m a huge fan of it,” Slater said. “Obviously it put our players in a bind, but I understand why it’s being done, understand we want to make this game available to our fans as often as possible, but you talk about player safety and health, it’s hard for us to understand how that’s catering toward our player safety and health.”

Slater said he feels he speaks for the team when he raises concerns with playing on Thursday night.

“It’s something that’s been voiced by several guys,” Slater said. “Again, I understand the situation that the league’s in, and I understand why it’s good for our league to play these Thursday night games, but I also understand there’s two sides of it, and there are some disadvantages to the quick turnaround.”

The easy fix for the NFL is to only force teams coming off of a bye week to play on Thursday night, but then the league can’t schedule the games throughout the entire season. The Patriots typically practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday then hold a walk-through Saturday before a Sunday game. The Patriots will hold their week-ending walk-through on their typical first day of practice.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater (18) on the side line during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium. The Green Bay Packers won 22-11. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

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