Patriots

Patriots' Matthew Slater got to channel his Hall of Fame dad at the goal line

Patriots' Matthew Slater got to channel his Hall of Fame dad at the goal line

Matthew Slater, the Patriots' All-Pro special team ace, found himself added to the Patriots goal-line package four times in their blowout victory over the Dolphins on Sunday.

Two of those snaps resulted in touchdowns - Sony Michel's 1-yard run on the opening drive and Tom Brady's sneak in the third quarter.  

What's he think of his less-than-familiar role as an added blocker in the jumbo package? He learned from the best.

“I try to do my best Jackie Slater impersonation there,” Slater told reporters in the locker room Wednesday in Foxboro. His father, Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, anchored the Rams offensive line for 20 years.

“I get to live my dream out of being a blocking guy like my dad was. I’ve always enjoyed doing that. If the team asks you to do something, you try to step up and do it and help the team in order to be successful. I always get a kick out of that when I get a chance to do it.”

With only two tight ends currently on the 53-man roster, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo, who were both used in those goal-line packages, Bill Belichick can count on the versatile 34-year-old veteran to pick up the blocking slack.

"Matt’s done that before, and it just really depends on what we’re trying to do and what the options are,” Belichick told reporters at his Wednesday press conference. “We have a couple of receivers that are fairly new to the team in terms of being on the field like with Antonio [Brown] and Josh [Gordon]. We have other receivers like Gunner [Olszewski] and Phil (Dorsett) that aren’t the biggest guys, physically, in terms of putting them on the goal line or dealing with things like that."

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Demaryius Thomas blasts Patriots, calls trade to Jets 'disrespectful'

Demaryius Thomas blasts Patriots, calls trade to Jets 'disrespectful'

Demaryius Thomas apparently has a lot to get off his chest.

Mostly quiet during his tenure in New England, the Jets wide receiver took a flamethrower to the Patriots on Wednesday, accusing his former team of "insulting" him by not giving him a chance to succeed.

"It was insulting, for sure,” Thomas told the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta. “Once I got cut (on August 31), I could have just come here (to the Jets) and not stayed there and re-sign. When they re-signed me, I was thinking that I was good. Two weeks later, I was gone.

"So, it’s like, ‘Why did I waste my time?’ Because at the end of the day, it was kind of a waste of time for me."

The Patriots signed Thomas in April, taking a flyer on the five-time Pro Bowler as he recovered from a December 2018 Achilles injury. The team released him during final roster cuts but re-signed him two days later, at which point Thomas thought he was safe.

After the Patriots traded him to the Jets on Sept. 10 -- one day after signing Antonio Brown -- the 31-year-old felt stabbed in the back.

"They kicked me (to the curb) and shipped me out like I’m just a rookie," Thomas told Mehta. " ... It was disrespectful to me."

" ... You told me when you cut me at the (final) cut, sit around you’ll bring me back. And I stayed. I could have easily become a Jet once I got cut. … I could have been here the next day after I got released. But I chose to stay."

Thomas also detailed Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's rather rational explanation for trading him to New York.

"Coach (Belichick) came up to me and was like, ‘Uh, we got too many guys. We can’t get the ball around enough and we’re going to trade you to the Jets,' " Thomas said. "And that was that."

Thomas caught two touchdown passes in New England's fourth preseason game but never appeared in a regular-season game, as the Patriots deemed him expendable after signing Brown.

The Brown experiment obviously didn't work out, though, and Thomas seems intent on rubbing a little salt in New England's wound ahead of the teams' Week 7 contest on Monday night.

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Marquis Flowers, Sterling Moore, Sealver Siliga among ex-Patriots taken in XFL draft

Marquis Flowers, Sterling Moore, Sealver Siliga among ex-Patriots taken in XFL draft

Former Patriots linebacker Marquis Flowers, ex-Pats Sterling Moore, a cornerback, and Sealver Siliga, a defensive tackle, were among the players with New England ties selected in the XFL draft.

The spring football league that played one season in 2001 is being rebooted and will begin play in February with eight teams. Its two-day draft concluded Wednesday.

Players were picked in five phases of the draft in the following order: skill position, offensive line, defensive front seven and defensive backs. An open portion concluded the draft.

Flowers, 27, who played for the Patriots in 2017, was selected with the Dallas Renegades' second pick of the open portion.

Siliga, 29, a Patriot from 2012-15, also went to Dallas with their second pick of the front seven phase.

Moore, 29, known for stripping the ball from Baltimore Ravens receiver Lee Evans in the end zone and denying what would've been a winning touchdown catch in the Pats' 2011 AFC Championship Game victory, was picked by the Seattle Dragons in the defensive back phase.

Other notable ex-Patriots, defensive end Kony Ealy, acquired in a trade by New England in 2017 but cut that summer in training camp, was the first pick of the Houston Roughnecks in the open phase. Running back Ralph Webb, an undrafted free agent who had a strong preseason opener in 2018 before being cut, was the first pick of the Tampa Bay Vipers in the open phase and linebacker Scooby Wright, who played for the Patriots this past preseason and was cut from their practice squad Oct. 1, was chosen by the DC Defenders in the front-seven phase. 

Former Boston College running back Andre Williams was selected by Houston in the skill position phase.

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