Matthew Slater not retiring, wants to stay in New England

Darin Gantt
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Like a few of their other free agents, Patriots special teams captan Matthew Slater has made it clear he wants to keep playing.

But he’s adding the notice that he wants it to be in New England.

Via Jeff Howe of TheAthletic.com, Slater said he wasn’t thinking about retiring.

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“I definitely feel like my family and I thought about it a lot,” Slater said. “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.”

The 34-year-old special teamer is making his eighth Pro Bowl appearance, and still playing at a high level. He was also healthy this year, which matters in making such decisions. Now there’s just the matter of working out a contract.

“I think I’ve expressed several times my desire to play the entirety of my career here,” Slater said. “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.”

Some of his fellow free agents — notably quarterback Tom Brady — have held open the possibility of extending their careers elsewhere. Slater doesn’t represent that level of potential disruption for the league’s most successful franchise, but at a time when they’ve lost special teams coach Joe Judge to the Giants, keeping him would represent a significant step toward stability.

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