Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater is unsure of his future in New England, but he's positive he'll keep playing football -- even if that means moving on from the Patriots.
Although he's spent his entire 12-year career in New England, Slater knows his future in Foxboro isn't necessarily up to him, adding that some things don't go as planned when discussing potential contract extensions
“I definitely feel like my family and I thought about it a lot,” Slater said, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic. “I still love to play and want to continue to play. I guess as of now, I want to keep playing. We just have to see how things go from here. There are a lot of things up in the air that I don’t know, but I’m going to approach it as though I’m preparing to play next year. We’ll kind of go from there. That’s where we’re at."
Similarly to Slater, Devin McCourty, who also has spent his entire career with the Patriots, noted that retirement isn't an option. Obviously it would be hard to see either player sign with a new team, and Slater noted it wouldn't be easy to move on from life in New England.
“I think I’ve expressed several times my desire to play the entirety of my career here,” Slater said. “When you play 12 years in one location, it’s hard for you to imagine playing anywhere else. I’ve certainly expressed that publicly. I’ve expressed that privately. But again, ultimately, sometimes that decision isn’t always in your hands. We’ll see how things go moving forward.”
The Patriots wouldn't be doing themselves any favors if they decide to move on from Slater, especially considering he was one of the most dominant special teamers New England had last season. That dominance earned Slater his eighth career Pro Bowl selection, surpassing Steve Tasker for the most special teams Pro Bowl honors in NFL history.
It probably won't be easy for Bill Belichick to retain the veteran as he also needs to re-sign a slew of players including Tom Brady and Kyle Van Noy.
While the fate of many players is up in the air, one thing's for sure -- Brady is going to be the priority this offseason.