“I was really excited to hear from Bill [Belichick] that they wanted me part of the team moving forward. I’m so thankful that the Patriots saw fit to continue to make an investment in me as a player and as a leader for our team,” Slater told ESPN.com. “I’m so glad I’ve been able to be here the entirety of my career; it really means a lot to me that I’ve been able to be in one place and be a part of such a great organization.”
Part of the reason staying with one team has such meaning to Slater is that his father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, spent his entire 20-year career with the Rams.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china
But unlike his dad, who entered the NFL as a third-round pick out of Jackson State, Slater’s NFL staying power was a little less clear. The Patriots had selected him in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, with special teams in mind, so the idea that he would one day be entering his 12th season never crossed his mind.
Now, asked if 2019 might be his final season, he said: “I think I’ve always approached my career as every year could be my last year because of the nature of my position and the unique role I have on the team as a core special teams player. Obviously, at this stage of my career, my wife and I have to have a conversation as our family grows and our kids grow up, and as we evolve, decisions aren’t just about what’s best for me. It’s about what’s best for my wife and for my children. We’re happy where we’re at now, and we’re just going to stay the course, thankful for the opportunity we have ahead of us and give it everything we got.”
The 33-year-old Slater had capped off the 2018 season with a strong performance in Super Bowl LIII (a 13-3 win over the Rams), as his punt coverage was critical in a game that included more punts than many anticipated.nfl nike jerseys for cheap
“The years prior to this past one were challenging for me personally, dealing with injuries and having to battle through that. A lot of questions swirl around when you’re an older guy that gets hurt as to whether or not you can ever get yourself healthy again,” he said. “So I’m just thankful the good Lord gave me health this year and was able to be out there every practice and every game with my teammates and show that I can still play this game at a pretty decent level, which I feel I can still do.”
2. One leftover from the NFL’s annual meeting in late March: The Patriots were hopeful that a couple of 2019 preseason requests to be paired with teams now led by former New England coaches would be granted by the NFL. This is commonplace across the league, especially when teams eye the possibility of conducting joint practices, which Belichick has generally viewed as a positive experience. Though Brian Flores’ Miami Dolphins are too close to home in the AFC East, an ideal scenario for New England would be to work with Matt Patricia’s Lions and Mike Vrabel’s Titans in the 2019 preseason. This was the week last year when the NFL announced its preseason schedule, so that’s something to keep on the radar in the coming days.