Matthew Slater wants to keep playing football. And he hopes he’ll be able to do so for the New England Patriots.
The longtime Patriots special teams captain told reporters after Wednesday’s Pro Bowl practice that he does not plan on retiring this offseason and that his first choice would be to re-sign with New England.
Slater, 34, is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the NFL league year opens March 18.
“I definitely feel like my family and I thought about it a lot,” Slater told Jeff Howe of The Athletic. “I still love to play and want to continue to play. I guess as of now, I want to keep playing. We just have to see how things go from here. There are a lot of things up in the air that I don’t know, but I’m going to approach it as though I’m preparing to play next year. We’ll kind of go from there. That’s where we’re at.”
He added: “I think I’ve expressed several times my desire to play the entirety of my career (in New England). When you play 12 years in one location, it’s hard for you to imagine playing anywhere else. I’ve certainly expressed that publicly. I’ve expressed that privately. But again, ultimately, sometimes that decision isn’t always in your hands. We’ll see how things go moving forward.”
Slater shared similar comments to ESPN’s Michael DiRocco.
Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater is at the Pro Bowl, where @ESPNdirocco was with him as Slater discussed how he isn’t ready to retire. Slater also relayed that he expressed to the Patriots that he would like to return. Slater’s comments: pic.twitter.com/epKXkuraFr
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 22, 2020
Slater had one of the best seasons of his 12-year career this season. He was voted to his eighth Pro Bowl — an NFL record for a special teamer — and also earned a spot on the Associated Press’ All-Pro first team alongside Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.