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Patriots 10-time Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater announces retirement

One of the best New England Patriots to lace up cleats is calling it a career.

Special teams star Matthew Slater announced his retirement on Tuesday after 16 NFL seasons, all with the Pats.

"For the last 25 years of my life, 16 of them as a New England Patriot, I have been incredibly blessed to be able to emulate the man I saw on those fields in Meridian by playing the game that I love so much," he said in a statement, via the team's official website. "I have given all that I possibly can to respect and honor the game. Though it is time for my relationship with the game to evolve, the love I have for it will last a lifetime.

"As a player, God used the game of football to instruct, discipline, encourage, and develop me as a person.

"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."

A three-time Super Bowl champion, Slater was one of the greatest special teams players ever, earning 10 Pro Bowl bids and All-Pro honors five times (two first-team).

The fifth-round pick out of UCLA was an all-world gunner and tackling maven. Bill Belichick noted last offseason that Slater was, in his opinion, the best core special teamer of "all time."

Listed as a receiver, Slater finishes his career with 191 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also caught one pass for 46 yards on eight targets.

Slater was truly a one-of-a-kind player and could eventually follow his father, Jackie Slater, into the Hall of Fame.

"Matthew Slater wasn't just a special teams player for the Patriots," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement on Tuesday. "He was a special team player who helped us win three Super Bowls and made a positive impact on the many lives he touched, both on and off the field. On the field, his 10 Pro Bowl appearances will likely earn him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day alongside his father. Off the field, he will be remembered for so much more. He is a role model, not just for young players, but for everyone. He is a man of integrity and high moral character who is led by his faith and committed to his family. There is no finer person than Matthew Slater."

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