Matthew Slater on the Jets: ‘We don’t have too many fond feelings towards them’
|10.16.12 at 8:52 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Matthew Slater knows all about big-time rivalries. Before joining the Patriots in 2008 and jumping right into the Patriots-Jets bi-annual border war, he played at UCLA and waited all season to play the crosstown Trojans of USC.
This week – Jets week – has a similar feel to him.
“You almost get the feel you’re in college and you’re playing your rival school,” Slater said. “So, I feel like I’m playing USC for me, personally. But the rivalry here, it doesn’t really matter what the records are. It just so happens were both 3-3 at this point. They want to beat us and we want to beat them. We don’t have too many fond feelings towards them and the same goes for them. They’re not too crazy about us either.
“I think in the spirit of the game it’s good to have rivalries like this, and for the popularity of the game to see two good teams get after it. I’m sure it’ll be no different this week.”
Slater realizes what’s on the line this week as the Patriots and Jets try to break free from a four-team 3-3 deadlock in the AFC East.
“Last I checked, we’re deadlocked at 3-3,” Slater said. “It just goes to show you that teams are vastly improved in our division and well-coached and there are good players out there. This is the National Football League, it’s very competitive league and right now, I think it’s safe to say we’re in the most competitive division. Hey, nothing is going to be given to us. We’re going to have to earn it from here on out.”
Slater injured his right leg covering a punt with under four minutes left in the fourth quarter. He got up and celebrated the big hit on Leon Washington (former Jet of course) that pinned the Seahawks at their own 10.
He slapped his helmet and popped up and down before suddenly limping, favoring his right leg.
“Things happen in football. Injuries occur,” Slater said Tuesday in front of his locker. “My focus is trying to get on the field and preparing this week and trying to help us beat the Jets.”
Just moments before laying the hit on Washington, he was engaged with two Seahawks before breaking loose. Then after making the tackle, he was congratulated by Nate Ebner and was given a celebratory jump pound hip-to-hip by Zoltan Mesko.
“I will say it wasn’t on the celebration,” Slater insisted with a big grin. “I will say that.”
Will Slater play Sunday? Safe to say, he’ll do everything in his power this week to make sure he does.
“You don’t want to miss this one if you can help it,” Slater said. “We know what it means to our fans, to this city, to this organization. And the same the goes for them, and their fans and their city. It’s a big game, especially with the division as close as it is right now. It’s big for both of us. I expect it to be a very competitive game on Sunday.”