Matthew Slater’s impact as a leader was unfounded in the NFL, and that included multiple current Patriots players.

The legendary special teams player announced his retirement Tuesday. Slater won three Super Bowls in New England and made five first-team All-Pro squads. Bill Belichick considered the 16-year pro one of the best players he’s ever coached, and he likely will earn a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Slater was well-regarded as a teammate and earned praise from Tom Brady, and he also had an impact on the latest generation of players. Mac Jones was one of multiple Patriots players who sent their thanks to Slater.

“Thank you Slate for changing the game!!” Jones commented on Instagram. “Your legacy is forever, both on and off the field!! #Legend.”

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Slater was a dedicated team player and defended Jones on multiple occasions in the 2023 season despite his on-field struggles. The 38-year-old’s commitment to the team endeared him to fans and cemented him as one of the best Patriots players of all time.

The New England legend only caught one pass despite being listed on the roster as a wide receiver. However, he made 10 Pro Bowls as a special teams player and will be remembered more for the underrated plays he made on the field and his impact in the locker room.

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