While New England Patriots fans are well aware of Matthew Slater’s greatness, the same can’t be said for the rest of the league. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made a bold comparison that is sure to catch the attention of football fans.
Belichick spoke about Slater in the lead up to New England’s Week 18 matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
“(Slater) gets double-teamed on virtually every coverage play, with very few exceptions,” Belichick said. “Sometimes those are schemed to where we try to put him in a spot to where he doesn’t get double-teamed. But I think every week, he’s had the bullet on his back for years and years and years. Whether it’s as a gunner on the vice or double-team blocks on kickoff coverage.
“He’s the guy that everybody pays a lot of attention to,” Belichick added. “To the benefit of other players; they get less attention. But I think when you see players at that level — different, but literally, he gets it on every play. Just like Taylor got it on every play for the Giants. When you get that kind of attention and you’re still able to be productive, that tends to put those players on a very elite level.”
Bill Belichick Also Praised Matthew Slater’s Leadership
Along with praising Slater’s ability on the field, Belichick praised Devin McCourty and Slater for their leadership abilities.
“(Slater) and Devin have really over the last couple of years really stepped up,” Belichick said. “Even going back to the ’20 season with COVID and all that. They’ve been monumental in their leadership, teamwork, support, you name it. Very lucky to have coached those two players. Throw Devin in there. I know the question was about Slater, but I’d throw Devin in there, too.”
Matthew Slater Showed His Leadership Ability This Week
The special-teams star displayed his leadership this week when discussing Damar Hamlin. Slater talked about leading the team in an extremely difficult time.
“Bill asked me to pray with the guys earlier in the week,” Slater said. “I think my role this week has been to lead spiritually. I’ve always felt like that was my role on the team. You guys have been covering me for a long time. You know that my faith is the most important thing in my life. Far more important than me playing the game. So, I’ve tried to be there for guys in that way.
“My family and I have been praying for Damar and everyone involved in the situation, and I think it’s evident that a lot of people are praying, because he seems to be making some great progress,” Slater continued. “You lead how you can, but at the core it’s really about guys knowing that you’re there for them if they need you. We’re all processing this in our own way and just kind of taking it day by day.”
With Slater being 37 years old, retirement is knocking on his door. If Week 18 is Slater’s last of his career, New England will have a large hole to fill both on the field and in the locker room.