Matthew Slater has announced his retirement from the National Football League.

Slater played all 16 of his NFL seasons for the New England Patriots.

“I have given all that I possibly can to respect and honor the game,” Slater wrote in a retirement letter shared by the Patriots. “Though it is time for my relationship with the game to evolve, the love I have for it will last a lifetime.”

Slater added: “In 2008, I came here as a young man with hopes and dreams. In 2024, I can retire knowing this experience has exceeded any hope or dream I ever had.”

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You can read Slater’s letter in its entirety here.

In his lengthy address, Slater also offered thanks to Patriots fans, his family, the Kraft family and Patriots organization, longtime head coach Bill Belichick along with his teammates and coaches.

Slater was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He became arguably the best special teams player in the history of the game, honored as a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time First Team All-Pro.

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Slater’s retirement does not come as a major surprise. Not only had the 38-year-old Slater considered retirement last offseason, but he showed heartfelt emotion in his final game at Gillette Stadium, being honored by his Patriots teammates and coaches beforehand.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images