Matthew Slater had a clear job with the New England Patriots over 16 seasons.

Slater put together a long NFL career out of the tremendous and consistent contributions he made to special teams. It was a unique and unheralded role, but nobody arguably did it better than Slater.

But New England’s official roster lists a different job description for Slater, who announced his retirement Tuesday. The Patriots have Slater grouped in as a wide receiver, but it’s hard to call him that since he played the position sparingly — and that might be an understatement.

Slater played 236 offensive snaps in his career with the Patriots and it seems like a good handful of those came with New England in victory formation. The 2008 fifth-round pick out of UCLA wasn’t an offensive star in college, either, standing out again on special teams and playing sometimes in the secondary with the Bruins.

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But as Slater hangs up his cleats and shoulder pads, he exits with exactly one NFL reception to his name. It’s a neat accomplishment and one that takes some jogging through the memory bank to remember.

The lone reception came in the 2011 season opener on the road against the Miami Dolphins. It didn’t take long for Slater to come up with the catch, either. On the third offensive play of the game for the Patriots, legendary quarterback Tom Brady looked Slater’s way.

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He was lined up on the outside against Vontae Davis and used his sprinter-like speed to gain separation on the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback. Brady quickly deciphered that Slater had a step on Davis and uncorked a deep ball.

It was a play even seasoned receivers sometimes don’t come up with, but Slater got under the ball and tightly secured it as Davis brought him to the ground. That was it. A smooth-looking 46-yard reception for Slater from the right arm of Brady.

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Slater was targeted four more times in his career — the last time a ball was thrown in his way was 2016 — but the second catch never came. Slater was fine with that.

“It’s kind of funny to think about,” Slater told MassLive in 2022. “You know, my career has been so very unique. When I hear stuff like that, it just makes me thankful that I’ve been able to have this experience and be a receiver without being a receiver.”

Slater, who won three Super Bowl titles with the Patriots to go along with 10 Pro Bowl selections and two All-Pro nods, made many more memorable plays throughout the years than that one catch.

But it’s there on his record and there to stay with Slater saying goodbye to football.

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Featured image via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images