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Matthew Slater Press Conference Transcript

(on the game against the Baltimore Ravens)
"We knew it was going to be a tough game coming in. Baltimore is a great team. They have future Hall of Famers on that team. They always are a tough win, but we just kept believing throughout the course of that game. It was a long game, and it was an ebb and flow back and forth. Thank God we were able to pull that win off."

(on where he is on a 5-3 play call)
"Everybody's system is a little bit different. I'm sure ours is different than other people's. I guess everybody has a little bit different code for what they call their plays and how they call their plays. I know ours is pretty unique, but it just depends from play to play where I would be."

(on if they have five guys on the line if he is on the outside or second from the outside)
"I'd probably be on the outside."

(on what it meant to have 25,000 fans show up to send them off at the stadium this morning)
"It was huge. I mean the fan support that we've had all year long has been tremendous. It was just really exciting to have the fans sharing that with us today, sending us off. The way they supported us throughout the playoffs was so exhilarating…thankful for all their support throughout the course of the season."

(on if it helps the team to know that that many people care about them)
"It does. I think today it even sunk in a little bit more that we're going to the Super Bowl and the magnitude of that. With the fans and their excitement level, just to see them there despite the cold weather supporting us, it was very big."

(on Head Coach Bill Belichick being relaxed and if he has seen a change in him this week)
"Yes I think he's very appreciative of it. I think everyone around here realizes that it's a very unique opportunity. He's encouraged us to enjoy the moment and realize that opportunities like this don't come around often. Maybe once a career, if you're lucky. So I think we all need to enjoy it, realizing that there's no guarantee we'll be back here, but at the same time realizing that we have a job to do."

(on this being Chad Ochocinco and Brian Waters' first Super Bowl after many years in the league and if it inspires him to want to win this game for them)
"I couldn't be happier for those guys. And definitely, I know how hard that they've worked over the course of their careers, achieved just about everything they could as individuals. But still that ultimate prize you  lose it, so I definitely think that's a little extra incentive for us to win for guys like that  who have had tremendous careers, but just haven't been able to get to the big game. So we're going to go out and do them proud."

(on how many Super Bowls his dad played in)
"Just one. It was '79. I think it was Super Bowl 14, and they played Pittsburgh, and they lost and never went back. 16 years and never went back. "

(on what his dad has told him about Super Bowl)
"He told me just to do everything I can to prepare myself for the game on Sunday so that I can live with no regrets. And realizing that this opportunity is not guaranteed to me in my career again, so just to do everything I can to take advantage of the opportunity and maximize it so, at the end of the day, I have no regrets at all."

(on if his dad said that he was proof that you can only go one time and never have an opportunity to go back)
"Oh definitely. I think that was one of the biggest things that he kind of missed on his career is he never won a World Championship. I knew how much that meant to him because he was a huge team guy, so he's shared a lot of lessons with me over the last couple weeks on how to try to handle this."

(on if he remembers what his dad was like after he lost that Super Bowl)
"I wasn't even thought of then. I wasn't born until '85. Even to this day he talks about the game, and he can almost call off every play to you and just remember the ebb and flow of the game. It meant a lot to him. Unfortunately it didn't work out for him, but it's definitely a memory he has and will have as long as he lives."

(on if his dad's team was leading the game that Super Bowl)
"They were leading with 11 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. He's told me that about 20 times, so it was tough for them to lose that game, but he really enjoyed the experience."

(on if his dad talked about Jack Youngblood playing in that game with a broken leg) "
Yes. That was unbelievable what he did. Mr. Youngblood was a tremendous player. They had a lot of great players on that team, and they just came up a little bit short."

(on if he has ever watched that Super Bowl game with his dad)
"I have. We sat down and watched it and I'm getting the play-by-play synopsis over and over ever since I was a youngster. 'So what happened on this play was this, this and this.' It meant a lot to him. This opportunity means a lot to me and him, too."

(on if it amazes him that his dad played in the NFL for 20 years)
"It blows my mind. I don't know how he did it. He was into his forties when he retired. He was extremely blessed. There's no other explanation for it that his body held up the way that it did, and mentally, he has a mindset that was very unique, I think, in his approach to the game and his love for the game. I think the more I play, the more appreciation I have of what he did."

(on if he can imagine playing for 20 years)
"No, not at all."

(on what he thinks it is about Bill Belichick's program that makes late round draft picks and undrafted players so productive)
"I think there's a formula here. There's a goal that they have in mind with the guys that they bring in, and they try to bring in guys that they think will buy into that. And fortunately a lot of us have tried to buy in and, you know, it's paid off for us. Us guys that have been lower round draft picks or free agents, we just come in and are willing to work and do whatever's asked of us and hopefully it works out for us."

(on if he sees similarities with players that are later round draft picks)
"I think we do. You kind of have that sense of urgency from the day you come into the league knowing that things are not going to be easy for you. They're not going to be easy for anyone. We know that, but you've got to kind of come in and be willing to do dirty work; whatever it takes to stick around. I think a lot of guys on this team have that mentality, and that's why we've had the success that we've had."

(on if it surprises him that Bill Belichick has a sense of humor)
"Oh man, he's surprisingly funny, I guess you would say. That's just another element to the man that you love about him, and I know the thing that makes you enjoy playing for him. He keeps that sense of humor. He keeps you on your toes. I love that about him."

(on where Belichick's sense of humor comes from)
"I guess he's a little bit unpredictable at times. I don't know, but like I said, that's something that you enjoy about him, and he keeps things interesting around the work place."

(on Giants WR Victor Cruz)
"I think he's really come out this year and separated himself as one of the elite receivers in this game. He's made a lot of plays for them in crunch time and has done a tremendous job all year. I mean really since he came in, in that preseason he had as a rookie. A player like that, you can just hope to contain him and minimize his plays, but he's got to make his plays. He's that good, and hopefully you can do a good job on him. I know those guys are preparing hard, and hopefully they do a good job."

(on if the players have an attitude of 'get used to winning')
"I think definitely there's a mentality that you have to have and approach that you have to take in regards to winning. I think that guys come here and they buy into that, and it's been established by Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick and guys really buy into that. It doesn't come easy. You don't just come here and think that we're the Patriots and we're going to win and everybody else is going to lie down. That's not the case at all, so there's a lot of hard work that goes into that. But it does start with a mindset of, 'Hey we've got a goal in mind and we're going to do everything we can to achieve that goal of winning.'"

(on if the Giants beating them earlier in the year puts a dent on their 'used to winning' mentality)
"I don't think so. They're a good team. We know they're a good team and we know they're going to be tough this go around. They've proved that all year long. They have a lot of elite players on their team, and I don't think it puts a dent in it at all. We just have to continue to work hard and prepare this week and hope for the best come Sunday."

(on how old he was when he watched his dad's Super Bowl game with him)
"The first time I might have been five or six and the last time might have been a couple years ago. We've watched it quite a few times."

(on who initiates the conversation about his dad's Super Bowl experience)
"It depends. I might initiate it. I might ask him a question about 'Mean' Joe Green or somebody like that. A lot of the times, he'll initiate it because he loves reminiscing upon his playing days. Like I said, it's a tremendous memory for our whole family."

(on the coaching staff and how they have helped him to become a better player)
"I think that our coaches have a tremendous knowledge of the game, and across the board, all our coaches love the game so much, and that is visible in the way they prepare themselves. That love and knowledge that they have for the game rubs off on the players, and they prepare us for every situation you can imagine out there on the football field. They make sure that we play with discipline. They make sure we play alert. That has really- I know me personally- helped me tremendously, especially Scott O'Brien, the special teams coach, just getting me ready for every situation, coach me on technique, coach me on the little things. I think those little things that we emphasize end up having big time results."

(on potentially playing in the Pro Bowl today)
"It was an honor to be selected to the Pro Bowl, and it means a lot being selected by your peers and coaches and fans. But, obviously, I'd rather be here with my team competing for the ultimate goal. I'll probably go watch that game later on this evening, but I'm just happy to be here, and there's no place I'd rather be right now than here in Indy now."

(on if he thought about the possibility that he wouldn't play when he was selected)
"Well, I was hoping all along that I wouldn't play in it. The first thing Coach (Bill) Belichick told me when he told me I made it was, 'Well you're not playing in it.' It's just something that I'm happy to receive the honor, but I was hoping that I wasn't going to play in the game and, thankfully, I'm not."

(on if it has struck him that he's a captain of a team in the Super Bowl)
"I think it's starting to hit me now. It's really starting to hit what this means, and like I've been saying all year long, it's been a tremendous honor to represent these guys, and this team has done something special this year. It means a lot to be a part of it and to lead my group on the field. I'm just enjoying the experience and hoping we can end it on the right note."

(on how different it was coming into Indianapolis for the Super Bowl and not to play the Colts)
"It was a lot different. Coming in a week earlier, the stress is not as high yet, but it's there already. It's there a lot sooner than it would be, but it is a little bit weird to look at their stadium and realize we're not going to play Peyton (Manning) in the game. We do have an even bigger challenge than that this weekend, and we've got to be ready for that."

(on if he noticed the town being decorated for the Super Bowl and was looking out the window when they came in on the buses)
"Definitely I was. Just seeing, I've been to Super Bowl cities before. It's a real great experience for everybody involved, from the residents to the visitors, so just looking around seeing how the towns set up. Maybe I'll get a chance to go out and see what the town has to offer; not too much though. I'm here for business, but just excited to be here, definitely."

(on having the day off on Tuesday)
"Right. I'll be in by 8:30."

(on how strange it will be to practice in the Colts practice facility)
"That'll be different. We were talking about that with some of the guys. You know the rivalry, obviously, that exists there, but to go into their facilities and be preparing for a game will be a different experience. But, like I said, we have to just keep our focus. There's going to be a lot of things that are out of the ordinary this week, but we just have to remain focused and realize that we're here for one reason."

(on what 'the Patriot way' means to him)
"I think it means buying into the team concept fully. Whatever you have to do to put the team and the success of the team first is what I see as being 'the Patriot way.' A lot of guys have sacrificed a lot and worked extremely hard and the formula obviously works. So we're just a bunch of guys that go out and play for each other, and work for each other and it's all about a team first."

(on Chad Ochocinco)
"He's been a true professional this year through and through. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I already did coming into this season, but with the way he's handled everything and the changes and all of that, he's a true professional and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a player and as a man. Just happy to be his teammate."

(on what the plane ride to Indianapolis was like)
"There was a different feel to it. I think it started hitting me last night, I couldn't sleep realizing that we're going to play in the Super Bowl and we're leaving, and then we had the fan send off today and that was even more of a, 'Okay it's really happening.' It wasn't just an ordinary plane ride. We know why we're coming here, what's at stake here come next week and there was a lot of excitement on the plane. We're just here to enjoy the experience, and yet do our job at the same time."

(on if it has sunk in that they're at the Super Bowl)
"It has. I think it really has just seeing the Super Bowl signs everywhere and realizing what's going on and what we're here to play for. I think it's really starting to sink in."

(on which gift he liked from his teammates better, the Uggs or the headphones)
"I liked them equal. That was very generous of those guys to do that. That just speaks to the character of the guys that we have on this team. Always looking out for their teammates and that's why this team's had the success we've had. Just a lot of guys that love being around each other and love playing with each other."

(on if he can imagine spending $30,000 on head phones)
"No, I don't have that kind of money."

(on if there is a different Tom Brady in practice this week)
"He's extremely focused and I feel that the whole team looks to him to kind of set the tone for how it's going to be. Tom realizes that this is a unique opportunity that this team has and that he has, and he's extremely focused. He's here to handle business and take care of business. As our leader, we look to him and realize, 'Ok we realize what we have to do in preparing for this game and trying to get ready for Sunday.'"

(on if there is a revenge factor for them in this game)
"I can't really say. I can't really speak to that. I wasn't here personally, but I can't really say. This is a big game. That game was then, this game is now. Different players, different game, different venue."

(on how they settle in for the game and practicing this week)
"I think just trying to keep the same routine. Even though it's going to be difficult, obviously there are things that are going to be different, but just trying to keep the same routine and realizing that we have a job to do. This is not a vacation, this is not a getaway. We are here to do a job and we have to take each day of preparation in itself and just really focus on, 'Ok, tomorrow we're going to go out, have a good practice as we normally would and just prepare for the game the same way.'"

(on if it will be strange preparing for the game in the Colts facility)
"It will be. It will be strange going into a new facility preparing for a game, especially their facility, but like I said that's just one of the distractions so to speak that we have to kind of push aside and realize we have a job to do. And no matter the conditions or circumstances, we have to do that job."

(on if there is a looser environment in the locker room than there was in previous years in the playoffs)
"This team is very unique in the fact that we just love being around each other. Obviously, there were lessons to be learned from those playoff losses, but there are guys on this team that weren't there for those playoff losses so this is a new team, a new year. We have a different chemistry, as every team does from year to year. Our focus has just been on this year and trying to get the job done this year. I think we've done a good job of that."

(on if it will be nice to practice tomorrow and get back to work)
"It will. Just to get back to work. At the end of the day we're preparing to play a football game, despite all that's going on. Don't get me wrong, it's a great experience for the fans, the players, our families, and everyone else, but at the end of the day we have a job to do. We'll be preparing to do that job come tomorrow."

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