New England Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater has a pretty straightforward direction for his teammates: Don’t get fat.
That’s easier said than done as NFL players enter uncharted territory this spring as they’re forced to stay home amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Gyms and training facilities no longer are an option. Slater is using his three children as “human weights” while also running outside and using his dozen or so “apparatuses” around the house to stay in shape. Patriots safety Devin McCourty said last week that he’s riding his Peloton and picking up things around the house in lieu of lifting weights.
But there’s also another issue with being at home with children: diet.
“Let’s stay healthy, let’s obviously be productive with our time,” Slater said Monday. “This is not a green light for guys to go gain 30 pounds, which can easily be done when you’re eating mac and cheese and peanut butter and jelly with your kids, but I think let’s focus on our health, let’s be responsible with the opportunities that we have and then when it’s time to worry about football, we’ll worry about it then.”
Slater acknowledged the possibility that there might not be an offseason workout program this spring. The Patriots were scheduled to reconvene in late April for workouts which eventually would lead up to OTAs and minicamp. That April 26 start date already has been delayed.
“Honestly, I’m not worried about when we get back to football or how it’s going to go when we get back,” Slater said. “I think there are much more significant issues that we’re facing now that will always trump football. You look at what’s going on not only in our country but around the world, and I think football is far down on the list of things that I’m worried about right now and I’m sure a lot of guys feel that way. …
“I’m thankful to be healthy, I’m thankful to have a home to go to, I’m thankful that I have a family to support me during this time and we’re going to count our blessings and stay as positive as we possibly can and make do with what we have and not complaining about it, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Slater re-signed with the Patriots on a two-year extension before free agency began. The Patriots will need his leadership and ability on the field after losing Tom Brady in free agency to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and special teams coordinator Joe Judge to a head coaching opportunity with the New York Giants.