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Matthew Slater, Rob Ninkovich talk about impact of Marathon bombings

04.18.13 at 1:09 pm ET

FOXBORO — During a break in offseason workouts at Gillette Stadium Thursday, Patriots linebacker/defensive end Rob Ninkovich and special teamer Matthew Slater talked extensively about the Marathon bombings on Monday and the impact they have had on the franchise.

Slater watched the events of Monday afternoon, and said he had the chance to address the team later in the week at the suggestion of coach Bill Belichick.

“I just want to let those people out there know, the people that were affected by that event that were injured, or had somebody they knew that was injured or killed or are still battling for their lives or had to witness that traumatic event, that we’re praying for them,” Slater said.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a time where I’ve ever been more proud to be a part of this city, this region, with the way people have responded to that tragedy, and I’m just proud to be associated with the people of New England and the people of Boston.”

Slater said the tragedy was discussed this week in their team meeting.

“There are things in life more important than football, and this is one of those events that puts that in perspective,” Slater said. “I think we take so many things for granted. We expect to wake up, we expect to go about our day and be safe at the end of the day, but every day that we get up, anything can happen. So we need to count our blessings — every night that we get back home safely, that’s a blessing. Every morning that we wake up, that’s a blessing. I think that reminder has been sent through the locker room. We just need to value our friends, family and the time we have here on Earth.”

“Our thoughts and prayers of the team go out to everyone that have been affected by that. It’s just terrible,” Ninkovich said. “I was at home sitting with my wife. Watching it on TV is kind of just surreal — you don’t really think it’s going to happen, especially here in the city of Boston. Unfortunately, that’s just the world that we live in now. We have to deal with the terrible things that happen. Now, we have to support everyone that has been through that. That’s a good thing of being a football player. We can help people and do things to lift the spirits of those that have been affected.

“It’s unfortunate,” he added. “It’s scary, really, that those things happen in this world today. You can’t really put it into words, the way that affects people because, again, as a football player, you’re at an event where there’s a lot of people. You’ve got to put your trust in the security and the people around you that are doing their jobs in a stadium setting to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Several members of the Patriots have pledged financial support to provide relief for victims, including Vince Wilfork, Danny Amendola and Devin McCourty. Meanwhile, Slater and Ninkovich — who did not grow up in New England, but have made it their home since being acquired by the Patriots — marveled at the strength of the community in the wake of the disaster.

“I’€™ve been here five years now. You know the community of Boston is a tight community, and you know how the fans are about their teams,” Ninkovich said. “You go to a city where everyone’€™s so together, the love for one another, it’€™s kinda hard to put it ‘€¦ You feel it. When you’€™re in the stadium, you feel everyone’€™s around you in support. So when something so unfortunate happens to the city, it’€™s everyone’€™s nature to come together as a whole and have support for one another. As a team, we’€™re here to support and help the people that have been through this tragedy.”

“It just shows you what kind of city we have,” said Slater. “There are some strong people here.”

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