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Perfect attendance at Patriots practice Thursday 01.21.16 at 1:04 pm ET
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FOXBORO — All Patriots players on the active roster and practice squad were accounted for at Thursday’s full padded practice held on the grass fields behind Gillette Stadium in advance of Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Broncos.

Matthew Slater (shin), who missed Wednesday’s walkthrough, was present. Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones, who were injured against the Chiefs were present as well.

All this is good news heading into Sunday’s AFC title game.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Read More: chandler jones, Jamie Collins, Matthew Slater,
Darius Fleming proves to his teammates that he understands ‘the important things in life’ 01.20.16 at 9:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Those inside the Patriots locker room were not surprised by the heroics of Darius Fleming two days before the game with the Chiefs.

That’s when he saw a woman in distress inside a car that was smoking after an accident. He didn’t wait. He rushed over and kicked in a window and brought her to safety.

Could he have taken another measure that didn’t result in 22 stitches in his leg two days before a game? Maybe, as Devin McCourty related Wednesday.

“We’€™ve got great guys around here. No matter the time – playoffs, regular season, we’€™re always out in the community trying to save people [laughs],” McCourty said, referring to Vince Wilfork’s heroics after the AFC championship last January against the Colts. “Darius was really quiet about it, but once the guys on the team got a hold of it, we forced him to give a speech and everything. I think him, if you ask him about it, he explained it very simply. He saw a woman’€™s car that looked like it was smoking and he just jumped out of his car and he’€™ll admit there was probably some easier solutions he could have done, but I think it was nice. It was nice and dramatic, kick the window in and pull her out [laughs].”

Matthew Slater put a more serious tone to Fleming’s actions, which were finally detailed by the Walpole Police on Wednesday afternoon.

“I truly believe that we have guys around here that understand the important things in life, and they value the right things,” Slater said. “I think you hit it on the head, it really speaks to their character. It really speaks to the things that they value, the way they were brought up, the things that they believe in, and Darius has been a stand-up guy since he’€™s gotten here. When I heard the story, I wasn’€™t surprised at all, because you look at Darius and the way he carries himself, the way he treats people. He’€™s a tremendous young man, and we’€™re obviously all very proud of him. You never know what you’€™d do in that kind of situation, but what he did was pretty remarkable.”

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Read More: 2016 NFL playoffs, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
Source: Matthew Slater injured shin running into NFL Films cameraman during win over Chiefs at 9:25 pm ET
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Matthew Slater is handling life in the NFL as a new dad. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Matthew Slater was injured during Saturday’s win over the Chiefs. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Covering punts can be a risky proposition, especially for gunners heading up field and engaging with blockers.

No one knows this better than veteran special teams captain Matthew Slater. And this past Saturday he was reminded the hard way why it can be a painful undertaking as well.

Slater lined up at the Patriots’ 11 as Ryan Allen was getting ready to punt. Slater took his usual place wide on the left side as a gunner. At the snap, he released outside and tried to get around a Kansas City double team in front of him by running along the sideline.

Chiefs special teamer Jamell Fleming, who would receive a crushing blow on the ensuing series from Danny Amendola, blocked Slater as the two went out of bounds, and Fleming gave Slater an extra shove as Slater continued to get up the field while still out of bounds.

It was that shove, along with Slater’s momentum, that sent the special teams ace into an NFL Films cameraman who was positioned legally inside a yellow dotted line that surrounds the playing field and is in place for cameras and photographers. Following the initial collision, Slater ran into a second cameraman, from CBS-TV, which was broadcasting the game.

A league source confirms the collision on the sideline and that while Slater suffered a bruised shin, the NFL Films cameraman took a nasty blow to the nose and face. CSN New England’s Phil Perry was first to report the story.

Slater, while hobbled, tried to stay and nearly made the tackle, but Chiefs returner Frankie Hammond avoided him and brought the punt back to the Patriots’ 36.

Slater was the only Patriots player missing from a walkthrough practice Wednesday inside the field house but did speak to reporters in Wednesday’s press conference availability at Gillette Stadium, usually an indication that he’ll be ready come Sunday.

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Read More: Jamell Fleming, Kansas City Chiefs, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
Matthew Slater misses practice; Rob Gronkowski, Jamie Collins among 15 limited at 5:25 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Darius Fleming was one of three Patriots players to show up on the first injury report of the week with a shin issue. But he and Rob Ninkovich were able to participate in a light walkthrough while Matthew Slater, who did speak to the media on Wednesday, was held out of practice inside the Empower Field House altogether.

Fleming spoke at length Wednesday about saving a woman from a smoking vehicle last week, two days before the game with the Chiefs. He said he played with 22 stitches in his leg.

Jamie Collins (back) and Chandler Jones (knee), both of whom missed time on Saturday with second-half injuries, were out on the practice field Wednesday participating.

Fleming and Ninkovich were among 15 players officially listed as limited. The Patriots will practice again on Thursday and Friday before leaving Friday afternoon for Denver and Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Broncos. The team is looking to beat the storm out of town before it arrives on Saturday.

Here is the complete Patriots injury report from Wednesday:

DID NOT PRACTICE
WR/ST Matthew Slater (shin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
OL Tre’€™ Jackson (knee)
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee/back)
LB Jonathan Freeny (hand)
WR Danny Amendola (knee)
TE Scott Chandler (knee)
CB Justin Coleman (concussion)
LB Darius Fleming (back/shin)
DB Nate Ebner (hand)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower (knee)
DE Chandler Jones (abdomen/toe)
DE Rob Ninkovich (shin)
C Bryan Stork (ankle)
OT Sebastian Vollmer (ankle)
OT LaAdrian Waddle (shoulder)

FULL PARTICIPATION
QB Tom Brady (ankle)
OL Josh Kline (shoulder)
WR Brandon LaFell (foot)
S Devin McCourty (ankle)

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Read More: 2016 NFL playoffs, Denver Broncos, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
Matthew Slater: ‘Pretty surreal’ for Patriots to play in 5 straight AFC championship games 01.17.16 at 3:00 pm ET
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Matthew Slater spoke inside the Patriots locker room Sunday afternoon. (WEEI.com)

Matthew Slater spoke inside the Patriots locker room Sunday afternoon. (WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Matthew Slater has been in the NFL since 2008 and in that span, the Patriots have played in four AFC championship games, with a fifth coming next Sunday.

The five straight AFC title games tie the record for most consecutive championship games in NFL history.

“Everything is at stake,” Slater said Sunday. “It’s one game to get to play for a world championship. It’s a special week. A lot of teams work hard to get to this point and not many have had the chance to do it, so it’s pretty surreal we’ve been able to play in this game five years in a row and we’re really excited about it.”

After Saturday’s 27-20 win over the Chiefs, the Patriots returned to Gillette Stadium early Sunday afternoon for a team meeting to go look back at the game on film.

“We definitely took some time to enjoy today and I think we did a lot of good things yesterday,” he said. “It’s obviously what enabled us to win the game, but we’ll hit the reset button here shortly and be ready to move on to next week.”

While the Patriots opponent isn’t set until the Broncos-Steelers game is over, New England feels it can beat anyone when playing its best. The Patriots beat the Steelers 28-21 in the NFL season-opener, but lost to Denver 30-24 on Nov. 29., which was New England’s first loss of the season.

“We feel good about ourselves and we know if we play to our potential, we’re a tough team to beat,” Slater said. “We just have to continue on focus on playing well and executing. Hopefully it will work out for us.”

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Matthew Slater speaks loudest on Chandler Jones: ‘Don’t know enough to comment’ 01.13.16 at 1:08 pm ET
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FOXBORO — As he often does as a captain, Matthew Slater was the strongest and most articulate voice inside the Patriots locker room on the Chandler Jones situation.

The Boston Herald was first to report that Jones sought medical help early Sunday morning, setting off a flurry of reports across various media platforms.

Slater, the special teams captain, spoke Wednesday inside the Patriots locker room.

“I certainly don’t know enough to comment at all on that situation. I will say this: As a member of this team, we support all 50, 60 guys on this team. We have their backs, regardless of the situation, and that’s no different with Chandler. He has our support. But as I said, I don’t know enough about the situation, nor do I have the right to comment on that.”

Despite the reported incident early Sunday morning, Jones hasn’t missed practice this week, and was again at practice on Wednesday. He did not appear at his locker during media availability and did not speak to reporters.

Slater said the team will work hard to make sure this isn’t a distraction.

“I think we just try to go about our jobs and routines as best we can and put the focus on football. But as I said, obviously, guys go through different things. We support them and if they need us, that’s not different in this case.

“Certainly. We have to hold one another accountable and understand how hard we’ve worked to get in this position and the price that we’ve paid. We don’t want to take this opportunity for granted.”

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Read More: 2016 NFL playoffs, chandler jones, Kansas City Chiefs, Matthew Slater
Matthew Slater says Patriots need to be ready for a fight Saturday night vs. Chiefs 01.11.16 at 4:47 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Matthew Slater was paying close attention as Knile Davis took the opening kick of the postseason 106 yards, basically untouched, for a game-opening, tone-setting touchdown. The Chiefs used the kick to set the foundation for a 30-0 rout of the Texans, en route to an AFC divisional date with the Patriots.

“Certainly, certainly, and they do a great job in the kicking game,” Slater said. “They always have, and their special teams coach has a tremendous history working with Devin Hester during the prime of his career. So they know what they’re doing. They do it well, and I think that game, in all three phases, they really had their way. So this is going to be a tough football team, as I said, and we’re going to have to do everything we can and be ready for a fight on Saturday.”

Dave Toub was Devin Hester‘s coach with the Bears from 2004-12, including Hester’s record-breaking season in 2006, when he returned six kicks for touchdowns, including the 108-yard return against the Giants on Sunday night football on a missed field goal. Hester also returned the opening kick of Super Bowl XLI against the Colts for a touchdown. Now, Toub is doing it again for the Chiefs.

“I think their team, they’re going to do what they do, and if they see a weakness that you have, they’re going to attack it,” Slater said. “And I think they do a great job of just playing to their strengths. They have guys who play with a lot of effort, and a lot of times they just outwork teams. It’s very evident when you turn on the film. They’re hungry to make plays, and sometimes it’s just an effort thing. They out-effort a lot of the guys that they go against, and I think that mentality starts with him. If you know anything about his background, he has a military background. He was a D-line coach. Excuse me, not a military background, he was a D-line coach and he has a strength coach background. So I think that says a lot about him, and I think that character that he has pours over into his unit.”

As for momentum, Slater isn’t convinced that Kansas City’s 11-game winning streak or the Patriots’ 2-4 slump to the finish matter much.

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Read More: 2016 NFL playoffs, Kansas City Chiefs, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
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