Patriots special teams specialist Matthew Slater retires at the age of 38 | The Sporting Base
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Patriots special teams specialist Matthew Slater retires at the age of 38

February 21, 2024

Patriots special teams specialist Matthew Slater retires at the age of 38

According to the Associated Press on Tuesday, New England Patriots special teams specialist Matthew Slater of Los Angeles County, California retired at the age of 38 on Tuesday. Slater has the National Football League record for the most Pro Bowl selections by a special teams player with 10. He was honoured seven straight years from 2011 to 2017, and again for three straight years from 2019 to 2021.

Even though Slater is officially considered a wide receiver according to Football Refe, he was unofficially considered what is known as a gunner. So, what is a gunner? Well, a gunner is a special teams player who specializes in tackling the punter or kicker. Slater was considered one of the best players in the NFL at his craft.

Slater had 191 combined tackles in his NFL career (138 solo tackles and 53 assisted tackles), two tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Slater’s first tackle for a loss came in a 20-16 Patriots win over the Dallas Cowboys on October 16, 2011, and his second tackle for a loss came in a 23-16 Patriots win over the Miami Dolphins on December 2, 2012. Slater’s forced fumble came in a 31-24 Patriots win over the Indianapolis Colts on December 4, 2011, and his fumble recovery came in a 33-0 Patriots win over the New York Jets on October 21, 2019.

The long-time Patriot also had a huge impact in the playoffs. He had 22 combined tackles (13 solo tackles and nine assisted tackles) in 25 postseason games. Slater also won three Super Bowls (in 2015 in a 28-24 Patriots win over the Seattle Seahawks, in 2017 in a 34-28 Patriots win over the Atlanta Falcons and in 2019 in a 13-3 Patriots win over the Los Angeles Rams).


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