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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Apr 16 - 02:00 PM | Wed Apr 17 - 09:55 AM

Matthew Slater Announces Retirement

Patriots captain Matthew Slater has announced his retirement after 16 NFL seasons.

2024-SlaterCaro-PDC

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
2 Timothy 4:7

For as long as I can remember, football has been one of the passions of my heart. Some of my earliest memories of the game are of watching my dad prepare for training camp with the Los Angeles Rams. We spent every summer in Meridian, Mississippi visiting my grandparents. During those hot summer days in Meridian, I would often tag along with my dad to the local high school field. While I sat in the shade asking for snow cones, my father would methodically put himself through the paces. I remember those days more clearly than I remember his games. They weren't glamorous. There was no crowd around to cheer him on. There were no lights flashing. There were no critics critiquing. Just a man, my hero, dedicating himself to the game he loved so much. Never burdened by the work, he understood it was a blessing to do what he loved. It was a gift from the Lord. To experience the love that my hero had for the game in word and deed was transformative. I soon began to develop those same feelings for the game that had been so good to our family.

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. 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.

Pats Nation, it has been an honor to represent the silver, red, white, and blue for 16 years. Thank you for cheering, challenging and supporting our team each and every year. To the people of New England, thank you for welcoming my family and me into your community and allowing us to call New England home. We are beyond humbled and blessed. You the fans make an NFL player's experience what it is. Thank you for supporting not only me but our great game.

I am a firm believer that in life any experience we have is only made possible by the people surrounding us. My story in football is not my own. I have been supported by hundreds of people along the way. I would like to take the opportunity to thank some of them now.

To my mother and father, Annie and Jackie Slater: Thank you for committing to raise and support me the way you did. Thank you for instilling in me the importance of faith in Christ and the importance of loving the people around you. Mom, you are the backbone of our family. You sacrificed so much, and your belief in me never wavered. To my brother David, my biggest fan, thank you for doing life with me and always having my back. I love you all.

To my wife, Shahrzad: Thank you for the sacrifice, grace, forgiveness and everything else you did to support my dream and our family. To my children, Jeremiah, Hannah, Noah, and Micah: Thank you for inspiring daddy every day. The five of you have seen me at my very best and at my very worst. Through it all, your unconditional support has bolstered me. I love you all.

To every teacher, mentor, pastor, coach, agent, physical therapist, athletic trainer, massage therapist, chiropractor, nurse, doctor, friend, roommate, and family member: THANK YOU! To every member of the weight room staff, equipment staff, support staff, public relations staff, custodial staff, dining room staff, football staff and so many more: THANK YOU! You all supported me from my time growing up in Southern California to my time here in New England. You all helped me take my career in football from a dream to a reality. Thank you. WE did this as a collective! I love you all.

To the Kraft family and the entire Patriots organization: Thank you for your continued support and belief. Thank you for always treating me and my family like your family. I truly believe I have been a part of the best organization in all of pro sports.

To Coach Belichick: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pursue my childhood dream. Thank you for your belief in me. You took a chance on me and kept me around when many would not have. It is a great honor to know that I played for the best coach in the history of our league.

To my teammates from Servite High School, UCLA and especially here in New England: Words cannot express my gratitude for you all. You pushed me to the highest highs and walked with me through the lowest lows. I've often told many of you that the greatest honor I have ever had was watching you become the best versions of yourselves as men. You all did more for me than I could ever do for you. What we did on the field was special, but the bond we have off of it will last us a lifetime. You are my brothers. Thank you for everything. I love you all.

To the many players and coaches I have competed against over the years, especially those in the NFL: It has been an honor. To witness your greatness and share the field with you both inspired and pushed me. Collectively, you all make our game the greatest in the world.

Many of you know me to be a man of faith. I truly believe without the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus, I would not be writing this. Lord, thank You for making a way when there seemed to be none. Thank You for preserving my body and my mind throughout the years. Thank You for all the wonderful people you sent into my life. Thank You for Your grace and mercy in my life. This is Your story, and I am thankful You chose me to be a part of it. I love You.

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!" Psalm 115:1

...Dad, you blazed the trail. You set the standard. I hope I didn't miss anything. I hope I followed those footsteps well. It was never a burden. Only a blessing. A gift from the Lord...

"How do I feel about being a Patriot for life?"

..."AWW YEAH!!!"

May God Bless you all!

Sincerely,
Matthew Slater

Presenting some of the best images of Matthew Slater throughout his 16-year NFL career, all with the New England Patriots.

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