|Matthew Slater, wife announce plan to help Hurricane Matthew victims in Haiti, North Carolina||10.19.16 at 4:42 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Matthew Slater took to the podium on Wednesday to talk about the Steelers and where he thinks the Patriots stand after six weeks.
But before hand, Matthew the special teams captain had an announcement about an initiative to help victims of those affected by another Matthew.
Hundreds of people were killed in Haiti by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month and thousands were affected in both Haiti and the Carolinas, specifically North Carolina where he and his wife, Shahzrad, have family.
“My wife and I will be hosting an event Oct. 25, next Tuesday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. It’s called Matthew vs. Matthew and the idea behind this is, we have family in the Carolinas and living up here in the Boston area, we’ve met a lot of people that have ties to Haiti.
“Hurricane Matthew has obviously had a devastating effect on a lot of people so we wanted to do something that would provide some relief efforts for the people affected by this. The event is at Splitsville, right up here at Patriot Place, next Tuesday; a lot of the guys [will be there].”
The website for more information about the event next Tuesday is matthewvsmatthew.org.
“We’ll have some great auction items and it’ll be a great time, but most importantly, every penny we raise will go directly to an organization called ‘Samaritan’s Purse.’ That’s already on the ground in the Carolinas and in Haiti,” Slater added. “They do tremendous work. It’s an organization I’ve had a long-standing relationship with. I can’t take the credit for this. This is my wife’s idea, but it’s something I wanted to let you guys know [about] and get the word out there.”
|Patriots players say they haven’t seen Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium||10.03.16 at 5:03 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady’s four-game suspension ended at midnight Sunday night, meaning he was free to return to the facility.
But, as of Monday afternoon a few Patriots players — Chris Hogan, Nate Solder and Matthew Slater — said they have yet to see the quarterback.
Slater was even asked if Brady is in the building at all.
“I can’t answer that question,” he said.
The first chance the media will have to see Brady will be Wednesday as the team holds its first practice in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Browns.
“Well, I mean, we’re obviously thrilled to have him back,” Slater said. “We know what type of player he’s been for this team. We know what type of leader he’s been for this team. With all that being said, we have a job to do with him here now. We’re excited about the challenges that lie ahead.”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Have Patriots regained their special teams’ mojo?||09.13.16 at 7:31 pm ET|
After an occasionally down 2015, the Patriots’ special teams enjoyed a terrific start to 2016 on Sunday.
Whether it was the work of the kick coverage team in pinning Arizona deep in its own end on the last kickoff of the game, or Stephen Gostowski’s 3-for-3 night on field goal attempts, or Ryan Allen and the punt coverage unit accounting for an impressive 40.5 net yards per punt, it was a good night all around. (That doesn’t even take into account the fact that Patrick Chung apparently came close to blocking what would have been a game-winning field goal attempt from Arizona that was ultimately off the mark.)
Winning the field position battle is always key, but the margin for error with a young quarterback at the controls is even slimmer. The Patriots held the edge all night on the Cardinals — in non-turnover situations, the average starting field position for Arizona was its own 22-yard line, including six times at its own 25 or worse.
The ability to tilt the field paid off on several occasions for New England on both sides of the ball. It allowed Jimmy Garoppolo a little more leeway on offense, while the defense found itself in plenty of optimal situations all night long.
Chung has described the art of special teams as a “legalized, 40-yard fistfight,” a phrase he picked up from a college coach while at Oregon. If that’s the case, the Patriots soundly beat the Cardinals on points Sunday night.
“I think we did a good job of just playing together,” said special teams captain Matthew Slater, one of several special teamers’ singled out by coach Bill Belichick earlier this week. “Understanding how we were going to be played and how we were going to execute and giving ourselves a chance to win the field position battle.”
He added: “Every man that went out there knew what he needed to do and we played together. It wasn’t guy just running around and trying to make plays on his own. It was everybody playing together.”
Their work as a group stands in stark contrast to some of last year’s low points. A franchise that prides itself on peerless special teams play came up lacking in many big moments: Slater himself said the special teams was to blame for the surprising loss to the Eagles, a defeat that played a role in the Patriots losing home-field advantage. And Gostkowski’s missed extra point in the AFC title game was an awful gaffe that came back to haunt New England. Because of those misfires — as well as a few others — the Patriots fell from third to 11th in the annual special teams rankings from Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News.
But Sunday’s performance certainly sparked some optimism that New England’s special teams unit will be able to bounce back in 2016. On a conference call with reporters earlier this week, Belichick mentioned several names as being key to their success against the Cardinals, including Slater, Nate Ebner, Brandon Bolden and Jonathan Freeny.
|Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Dont’a Hightower reportedly named 2016 Patriots captains||09.06.16 at 5:16 pm ET|
The Patriots have reportedly named captains for the 2016 season.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater and Dont’a Hightower will be the captains for this season. The team was notified after practice on Tuesday.
For Gronkowski and Hightower it is their first season as captains and sixth for both Slater and McCourty as they were first captains in the 2011 season.
Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich were both captains last year, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see one of, if not both be named captains when they return for Week 5.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Matthew Slater admits ‘there’s room for improvement’ in NFL drug policy after Rob Ninkovich ban||09.04.16 at 2:29 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady isn’t the only Patriots veteran who’s going through a painful four-game suspension to start the 2016 season.
Defensive lineman/linebacker Rob Ninkovich was hit with a four-game ban for violating the NFL’s drug policy for performance enhancers.
Ninkovich told ESPN’s Mike Reiss that he was “devastated” by the news, and that the violation was a complete surprise to him.
The issue of a trusted veteran inside an NFL locker room unwittingly getting into trouble with banned substances is not new. But it does bring to light an issue the NFL and the Players Association has been grappling with for years: How to best inform its players of the dangers of using supplements that might seem legal over-the-counter but are banned by the league in the CBA.
Is there something the NFLPA and the league could be doing to better help players, young and veteran alike? Should PED suppliers be held more accountable legally when they prescribe substances to players?
Matthew Slater has unique perspective in this regard. He has served as a team rep for NFLPA issues and he has been a close friend of Ninkovich since the linebacker came to the Patriots in 2009.
“There’s always room for improvement in whatever it is you do in life. There’s room for improvement for us as professionals, even what I do, what [media] does, there’s room for improvement,” Slater said Sunday. “Yes, there’s room for improvement in that area. What that looks like, it’s not for me to say. That’s a little bit above my pay grade. We’ll see what happens moving forward. We want what’s best, obviously, for the shield and that’s very important. But we also want what’s best for our players.
“But at the same time, integrity and doing the things the right way is something that’s important to all of us. So we’ll see.”
Slater said he sympathizes for Ninkovich during this time.
“Rob’s a good friend of mine,” Slater added. “I know him and I talked about that situation. I understand what happened. I understand the situation is what it is. I love Rob. He’s been a great friend to me and my family so support him as best I can. It is unfortunate. But I think that’s all I can really say about that.”
|Report: Patriots ink ST Matthew Slater to new deal through 2017||08.31.16 at 8:08 am ET|
The Patriots have signed special teams ace Matthew Slater to a one-year, $1.8 million extension through 2017, according to ESPN.
The 30-year-old Slater, a fifth-round pick of New England in 2008, has become one of the best special teamers in the game. A five-time Pro Bowler, the 6-foot, 198-pounder has served as the Patriots special teams captain for the last few seasons.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Matthew Slater supports Nate Ebner by wearing No. 43 jersey at Patriots practice||07.28.16 at 2:35 pm ET|
FOXBORO — When taking attendance at the first Patriots training camp practice, it was strange seeing a No. 43 jersey on the field considering Nate Ebner is off preparing with the U.S. Rugby team for the upcoming Summer Olympics.
Ebner wasn’t back with the Patriots, instead it was special teams captain Matthew Slater showing his support for his fellow core special-teamer.
“I have a lot of respect for that guy,” Slater said. “I wanted to show him a little love today. This is supporting him as he chases his dream.”
Added Slater: “He might be a little bit surprised. I didn’t give him the heads-up. Hopefully he doesn’t get mad I had his jersey on.”
Even though Ebner hasn’t been able to be at Gillette Stadium with the rest of his team, Slater has made sure to keep him up to speed with what he’s missed.
“He’s living his dream, and not a lot of people get that opportunity to be an Olympian,” Slater said. “I gave him the install from (Wednesday). He knows what we did (Thursday morning). I’m sure I’ll give him the install (Thursday night). We know when he comes back here, he’ll be all-in here, but he needs to focus on what he’s doing now, and we understand that.”
It’s likely Ebner returns in the middle of August and he’s expected to be ready for the 2016 season. The entire team is pulling for him to bring back a gold medal.
“It’s unbelievable,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “He’s a great worker, hard worker, Nate Ebner. Always on top of his game out here. I know he played rugby before he came to the NFL, so huge props to him. Amazing accomplishment, and best of luck to him. Hopefully he brings home that gold and then (rejoins) our team. That would be awesome.”
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