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Matthew Slater Retirement: Does He Deserve a Spot in the Hall of Fame After 10X Pro Bowl Career?

Published 02/20/2024, 10:55 AM EST

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Matthew Slater still vividly recalls his early days with the New England Patriots. Fresh off being selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft from UCLA. What struck Slater was his father’s remarkable NFL career. Jackie Slater was a revered offensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams. He had seven Pro Bowl selections under his belt and earned a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Despite this legacy, Matthew Slater questioned his own longevity in the NFL, uncertain if he would even last a year in the league.

Now, after 16 years, Slater stands as a cornerstone of the Patriots dynasty, renowned for his influence and reliability. With three Super Bowl victories and an impressive 10 Pro Bowl appearances as a special teams standout, Slater has etched his name in Patriots lore. At 38 years old, however, he is now calling it a day, marking the conclusion of a storied career filled with accolades.

Belichick roots for Slater’s Hall of Fame spot

Don’t take it from us. Who can be a better judge of his Hall of Fame prospects than his HC himself? He’s seen limited participation as a WR. Even though that’s his official position. Most of his contribution to the dynasty has come on special teams (and in the Patriots’ victory formation).

“I think Slater really is eventually going to be a Hall of Fame candidate,” Belichick said of Slater. “As a coverage player, not as a specialist and he’s not a returner. So he’s in a very unique category, one that I don’t think is represented in the Hall of Fame.” He is the team’s longest-tenured player. Having been with the team for 16 years, what has his track record been?

Matthew Slater’s track record

Matthew Slater’s legacy with the Pats is nothing short of remarkable. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Slater became synonymous with excellence in special teams play. His contributions not only helped the squad secure three Super Bowl victories but also elevated him to the status of one of the greatest special teams players in NFL history.

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Throughout his illustrious career, Slater earned an impressive 10 Pro Bowl selections. That’s the most ever for a special teams player and garnered two First-Team All-Pro honors in 2016 and 2019. His impact on special teams extended beyond accolades, as he solidified his place as New England’s all-time leader in special teams tackles with a staggering 159 tackles. Additionally, Slater ranks third among all NFL players in special teams tackles since 1994, a testament to his consistency and durability on the field.

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His induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame seems inevitable. However, Slater’s contributions undoubtedly warrant a place among the NFL’s greatest in Canton as well.

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Written by:

Jakso James

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Jakso James is an NFL Writer at EssentiallySports. Jakso’s analysis takes a reader around the league with a look at the player strategies and stats. An ardent football lover himself, he developed a strong connection with the Denver Broncos as he witnessed Russell Wilson break the barriers.
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