Matthew Slater
refer to caption
Slater with the New England Patriots in 2011
No. 18 – New England Patriots
Position:Wide receiver, gunner
Personal information
Born: (1985-09-09) September 9, 1985 (age 37)
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Servite (Anaheim, California)
College:UCLA (2004–2007)
NFL Draft:2008 / Round: 5 / Pick: 153
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 18, 2022
Total tackles:185
Forced fumbles:1
Total return yards:637
Receiving yards:46
Rushing attempts:2
Rushing yards:11
Total touchdowns:1
Player stats at · PFR

Matthew Wilson Slater (born September 9, 1985) is an American football wide receiver and gunner for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at UCLA, where he received first-team All-Pac-10 honors, and was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. A special teams player for most of his career, Slater is considered one of the NFL's greatest gunners. He holds the record for special teams Pro Bowl selections at 10, in addition to five first-team All-Pros. Slater also won three Super Bowl titles in Super Bowl XLIX, Super Bowl LI, and Super Bowl LIII.

Early years

Slater was born in Long Beach, California to Annie Slater and former NFL tackle and Hall of Famer Jackie Slater. He has a brother named David.

Slater lettered in football for two seasons at Servite High School in Anaheim, California, where he was teammates with Ryan Kalil. Slater was an All-West selection by Prep Star and a three-star selection by He was also a two-time All-Serra League selection. As a junior, Slater caught 23 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns. As a senior, he had 39 receptions for 707 yards and five touchdowns.[1][2]

In high school, Slater was also a standout track athlete. He tied for second at the CIF State meet in the 100 meters, with a time of 10.62 seconds, and fourth in the 200 meters, with a time of 21.39 seconds. Slater's 4 × 100 metres relay team was the CIF champion. He was selected as the 2003 Orange County Register Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year as a senior. Slater still holds school records in the 100 meters and 200 meters.[3]

College career

Slater attended the University of California, Los Angeles and majored in political science and history, while playing for the Bruins football team. As a freshman, he redshirted due to a turf toe injury.

As a second-year freshman in 2004, Slater appeared in games against Illinois, Arizona, and Stanford.

As a sophomore in 2005, Slater was a reserve wide receiver. He missed the first three games due to a stress fracture in his left leg. Slater played in two games but did not make a reception.[4]

As a junior in 2006, Slater played 13 games, including two (Washington and Arizona) on defense. He excelled on kick coverage, specializing in big hits on kick returners to help minimize kick return yardage. In the year, he made nine tackles, including six solo tackles.

As a senior in 2007, Slater played in 13 games and made 25 tackles. He also returned 34 kicks for a 29.0-yard average and 3 touchdowns which tied the lead in the nation and set the UCLA record. Slater also tied the Pac-10 season record, set by Anthony Davis in 1974. Slater's 29.0-yard kickoff return average was first in the Pac-10 and 12th-best in the country. He was a first-team All-Pac 10 selection as the kick returner. Slater's 986 kickoff return yards were also a new UCLA single-season record.[4][5]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
5 ft 10+58 in
(1.79 m)
195 lb
(88 kg)
4.44 s 1.57 s 2.59 s 4.40 s 7.31 s 33.0 in
(0.84 m)
10 ft 1 in
(3.07 m)
11 reps
All values from Pro Day[6][7]

2008 season: Rookie year

Slater was drafted in the fifth round, 153rd overall, of the 2008 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, who traded up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before drafting Slater.[8] Matthew's father, Jackie Slater, was pleased with the selection and told the Boston Herald that he received phone calls from "scouts, administrators in the NFL who knew me and my son, and they said, ‘Jackie, this could not be a better fit for your son to start being a pro football player.'"[9] Slater was one of two players selected in the 2008 Draft (the other being Chris Long), and the sixth in the history of the NFL Draft, who is a son of a Hall of Fame member. Slater played in 14 games in his rookie 2008 season, returning 11 kickoffs for 155 yards and recording 12 tackles on special teams.

2009 season

In the 2009 season, Slater was active for 14 games for the Patriots, recording six tackles on special teams, while recording one rush for six yards as a wide receiver. He also returned 11 kickoffs for 269 yards, a 24.5 average. Slater had a career-high 35-yard kickoff return in the regular-season finale against the Houston Texans. He also played in a reserve role at wide receiver and on special teams coverage units in the postseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. In that game, Slater had two kickoff returns for 46 yards and a special teams tackle.

2010 season

In 2010, Slater did not record any offensive or defensive statistics and did not return any kicks or punts. However, he led the team with 21 special teams tackles in 15 games played.[10]

2011 season

In the 2011 season, Slater was voted to be the special teams captain by his teammates.[11][12]

Slater created a niche as a special teams force, leading the Patriots with 17 regular season special teams tackles. However, he had a presence in all three phases throughout the season. In the season opener against the Miami Dolphins, Slater made the Patriots’ first big play of the season by catching a 46-yard reception from Tom Brady (which remains his only career reception) and set the team up for the Patriots’ first touchdown of the season.[13] Slater returned four kickoffs for 68 yards (averaging 17 yards per return).[14] He significantly contributed in the defensive backfield, and started in three games as safety. In his defensive start against the Indianapolis Colts, Slater forced a fumble and finished the game with a team-high six tackles.[15] In the AFC Divisional Round, Slater had a special teams tackle.

Slater was selected for the 2012 Pro Bowl and the 2011 Pro Football Writers Association (PFW/PFWA) All-Pro teams including All-NFL and All-AFC as a special teamer.[16][17][18][19] At the time, the Slaters were one of five active father-son families selected to at least one Pro Bowl apiece. The others were Gill and Jairus Byrd; Archie and Eli Manning; Archie and Peyton Manning; Clay and Clay Matthews; and Howie and Kyle Long.[20] The Patriots reached Super Bowl XLVI, Slater's first appearance in the Super Bowl, but lost 21–17 to the New York Giants.[21]

2012 season

Slater, who became a free agent after the 2011 season, signed a three-year contract to return to the Patriots in 2012.[22] He was again voted as Special Teams Captain and voted to be the team's player representative to the NFL Players Association.[23][24] Slater was also named to the Pro Bowl and the 2012 PFW/PFWA All-Pro for the lone AFC special teamer position for the second straight season.[25][26]

2013 season

In his sixth season with the Patriots, Slater continued to be a reliable captain and inspirational leader on and off the field.[27] He had 14 regular season special-teams tackles, which was the second-highest on the team, despite missing four games early in the season due to injury. Slater's on-field performance led to a third straight Pro Bowl nod.

2014 season

On November 26, 2014, it was reported that Slater signed a two-year contract extension to remain with the Patriots through the 2016 season.[28] Slater, again, was voted All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl at the special teams position. It was his fourth straight selection to the Pro Bowl and his third All-Pro nod. Slater earned a Super Bowl ring as the Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 28–24 in Super Bowl XLIX.[29]

2015 season

Slater was once again a standout special teams player in 2015. He earned his fifth Pro Bowl at the special teams position. Slater's father is a seven-time Pro Bowler, and with 13 Pro Bowl nods between them, the Slaters are the second-most nominated father/son in the NFL (only Archie and Peyton Manning have more Pro Bowl nominations).[30][31]

2016 season

Slater warming up before a game in 2016

On August 31, 2016, Slater signed a one-year contract extension with the Patriots through 2017.[32]

Slater continued to be a standout on special teams. On December 20, he earned his sixth Pro Bowl nomination. The Slaters now held the most Pro Bowl nods of an active father-son pair with 13. He was also named First-team All-Pro as a special teamer for the fourth time in his career. On January 4, 2017, Slater was announced as the winner of the Bart Starr Award, given annually to a player who exemplifies character and leadership on and off the field. His father received this honor in 1996, and together they became the first father-son pair to be honored with this prestigious award.[33] Slater helped the Patriots finish with a 14–2 record. On February 5, 2017, he was part of the Patriots team that won Super Bowl LI. In the game, the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 34–28 in overtime.[34] Slater had a role as special teams captain and successfully called the coin toss before overtime began.[35]

2017 season

Slater was inactive for the first four games of 2017, recovering from a hamstring injury. He returned in Week 5 but missed Weeks 11–13 with a hamstring injury. Slater was named to a record seven consecutive Pro Bowls, which tied Steve Tasker for the most special teams Pro Bowl honors in NFL history.[36] Slater did not play in the Pro Bowl because the Patriots made it to Super Bowl LII, but failed to repeat as champions after losing 41-33 to the Philadelphia Eagles.[37]

2018 season

On March 20, 2018, Slater re-signed with the Patriots on a two-year contract.[38][39] Slater won his third Super Bowl when the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 13–3 in Super Bowl LIII.[40]

2019 season

Slater in 2019

During a Week 4 16–10 road victory over the Buffalo Bills, Slater scored his first NFL touchdown on an 11-yard blocked punt return.[41] In Week 12, he had his first career blocked punt, which led to an offensive touchdown, in a 13-9 win over the Dallas Cowboys, earning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.[42] Slater was named to his eighth Pro Bowl, breaking Steve Tasker's record for the most special teams Pro Bowl honors in NFL history.[43]

2020 season

On March 13, 2020, Slater signed a two-year contract extension with the Patriots.[44] With quarterback Tom Brady's departure and the release of placekicker Stephen Gostkowski, Slater became the longest active member of the Patriots.[45] On December 21, 2020, he was named to the 2020 Pro Bowl, extending his own NFL record for most special teams Pro Bowl honors, with nine selections.[46]

2021 season

Slater was a standout on special teams once more in the 2021 season. He ended the year with 11 tackles in the regular season while adding another two in the Patriots' Wild Card loss to the Buffalo Bills. Slater made his tenth Pro Bowl and was a Second-team All-Pro selection for the third time in his career.[47]

2022 season

On March 14, 2022, Slater signed a one-year contract extension with the Patriots.[48]

2023 season

Slater signed another one-year contract extension on February 17, 2023.[49]

When head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, was asked who the greatest player at each phase of the game was, he said that Slater was the greatest in the Special Teams department.[50]

Personal life

In 2020, Slater and his wife founded the Slater Family Foundation.[51][52] Slater is a Christian.[53]

In 2013, Slater was awarded the New England Patriots 11th Ron Burton Community Service Award by owner Robert Kraft for his strong commitment to community service and leadership. Slater is one of the team’s most active community participants, regularly participating in the team’s organized community events.[54]

Slater was also the United Way representative on the New England Patriots and worked with organizations in the greater Boston area to recruit one million volunteers as part of the wider Patriots Celebrate Volunteerism campaign in 2012.[55][56]

On October 25, 2016, Slater hosted a "pop-up" fundraiser to benefit Hurricane Matthew victims. He raised over $60,000 for Samaritan's Purse to assist in their efforts in the Carolinas and Haiti after the devastating hurricane barreled through those regions.[57]

Slater is a supporter of Compassion International. In 2021, he picked the charity and its “Fill The Stadium” initiative for his “My Cause My Cleats” cause.[58]

See also


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  2. ^ "High Schools: Southern Section Football Roundup". Los Angeles Times. September 22, 2001. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Records". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Matt Slater". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  5. ^ "Matt Slater". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
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  7. ^ "Matthew Slater, Combine Results, FS - UCLA". Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  8. ^ "2008 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  9. ^ Guregian, Karen (April 30, 2008). "Patriots' Slater makes dad proud". Boston Herald. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
  10. ^ Reiss, Mike (January 5, 2012). "Slater leads way on special teams". ESPN. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
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  12. ^ Scalavino, Erik (September 8, 2011). "Captains revealed, with some surprises; Thu. notes". New England Cable News. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  13. ^ Kenyon, Paul (September 12, 2011). "Patriots Journal: Slater snares his first regular-season catch". The Providence Journal. Retrieved September 12, 2011.
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  15. ^ Santoro, Tony (December 7, 2011). "Matthew Slater: Can He Be the Answer at Safety for the New England Patriots?". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
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  19. ^ "2011 All-AFC team". Pro Football Weekly. January 17, 2012. Archived from the original on January 21, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
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  27. ^ Howe, Jeff (January 2, 2014). "Matthew Slater discusses new role in breaking down team". Boston Herald. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
  28. ^ Yates, Field (November 26, 2014). "Pats extend Slater through 2016". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  29. ^ "Super Bowl XLIX – Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots – February 1st, 2015". Retrieved February 16, 2015.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ Smith, Michael David (November 26, 2012). "Manning, Matthews, Slater following their fathers to the Pro Bowl". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  31. ^ Smith, Christopher (December 23, 2015). "Patriots' Matthew Slater two Pro Bowl selections shy of dad Jackie; 'I'll never be as good as my dad'".
  32. ^ Orr, Conor. "Matthew Slater inks 1-year extension with Patriots".
  33. ^ "Matthew Slater wins 2017 Bart Starr Award". Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  34. ^ "Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons - February 5th, 2017". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  35. ^ King, Peter (February 6, 2017). "New England Patriots rally to win Super Bowl 51 in OT". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  36. ^ "NFL announces 2018 Pro Bowl rosters". December 19, 2017.
  37. ^ "Super Bowl LII – Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots – February 4th, 2018". Retrieved February 10, 2018.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  38. ^ Wesseling, Chris (March 20, 2018). "Matthew Slater to re-sign with New England Patriots".
  39. ^ "New England Patriots win Super Bowl LIII". NFL. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  40. ^ "Super Bowl LI – New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams – February 3rd, 2019". Retrieved March 1, 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  41. ^ Hass, Trevor. "Watch Matthew Slater score his 1st career touchdown". Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  42. ^ Gordon, Grant (November 27, 2019). "Lamar Jackson, Chris Godwin among players of the week".
  43. ^ "8 Pro Bowls are nice, but Patriots' Slater keeps bigger goals in perspective". 98.5 The Sports Hub - Boston's Home For Sports. December 19, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
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  46. ^ Mason, Chris (December 21, 2020). "Stephon Gilmore, Jake Bailey, Matthew Slater chosen as Patriots Pro Bowlers in 2021". Masslive. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  47. ^ "2021 All-Pro Team: Jonathan Taylor T. J. Watt, Cooper Kupp highlight roster". Associated Press. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
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  49. ^ "Patriots Announce that Special Teams Captain Matthew Slater will Return this Season". February 17, 2023.
  50. ^ "Patriots HC Bill Belichick tabs special teamer Matthew Slater as 'best of all time'". Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  51. ^ "Matthew vs. Matthew: Matthew Slater hosts fundraiser to help relief efforts after Hurricane Matthew". Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  52. ^ NEWS, ASHLEY CULLINANE, NBC 10 (August 7, 2021). "Patriots' Matthew Slater and family host 'Community Jamboree' in Providence". WJAR. Retrieved April 17, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  53. ^ "Patriots Pro Bowler Matthew Slater praises Eagles players for their faith in Christ". January 31, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  54. ^ "Matthew Slater receives 2013 Ron Burton Community Service Award". Patriots. August 27, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  55. ^ "New England Patriots Receiver Matthew Slater Announced as Local Member of United Way Team NFL". United Way of America. September 19, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  56. ^ Laguarda, New Ignacio (September 24, 2012). "Patriots' Slater gets Waltham Boys & Girls Club kids pumped up for reading". Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  57. ^ "Matthew vs. Matthew: Matthew Slater hosts fundraiser to help relief efforts after Hurricane Matthew". All Access. October 27, 2016. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  58. ^ Doering, Joshua (December 7, 2021). "Matthew Slater supports Compassion International & Fill the Stadium with 'My Cause My Cleats'". Sports Spectrum. Retrieved December 14, 2021.