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Matthew Slater returning for 16th season with Patriots

Matthew Slater is giving it another go in New England.

The longtime special teams ace is returning for a 16th NFL season with the Patriots, the team announced Friday.

"It is a great honor and blessing to return to the Patriots for my 16th season," Slater said in a statement released by the team. "I thank God for His continued grace and provision over my career. I look forward to continuing to play under the leadership of Coach Belichick. Thank you to the Kraft family and the entire Patriots organization for allowing me to continue to pursue my childhood dream. See you in the fall. God Bless."

Slater began his NFL career as a fifth-round pick of the Patriots out of UCLA in 2008, joining New England and carving out a role on special teams as a returner and member of its coverage units. The son of Hall of Fame tackle Jackie Slater, Matthew Slater followed in his father's footsteps during his career, earning five All-Pro selections and 10 Pro Bowl nods while also helping the Patriots win three Super Bowls.

The 37-year-old Slater is a rarity in today's NFL, in which most clubs' special teams are populated by members of the bottom-third of the roster who often find themselves on the bubble but manage to stick around by producing in the third phase of the game. Slater, however, proved to be a valuable special teams resource for a coach in Bill Belichick who has long valued consistency and leadership in every unit on his team.

"Matt's incredible career is a testament to his preparation and will to succeed," Belichick said in a statement. "We are thrilled he will be playing this season."

Slater has embodied the "Patriot Way" throughout his career. He'll put off retirement for at least one more season in favor of resuming a role that made him a household name in NFL circles.

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