Patriots captain Matt Slater returning for 16th NFL season

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — After the New England Patriots’ season came to an end last month, Matt Slater said he’d given everything he had during his 15 years in the NFL.

But for now, retirement can wait.

The Patriots announced Friday that the 37-year-old and two-time All-Pro has decided to return for his 16th season in 2023

“I thank God for His continued grace and provision over my career,” Slater said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to play under the leadership of coach (Bill) Belichick. Thank you to the Kraft family and the entire Patriots organization for allowing me to continue to pursue my childhood dream.”

A fifth-round draft pick by New England in 2008 and son of Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, he has grown into a locker room leader and embodiment of Belichick’s “Patriot Way” culture.

Along the way Slater has been voted as the special team captain 12 times while winning three Super Bowl rings.

“Matt’s incredible career is a testament to his preparation and will to succeed,” Belichick said. “We are thrilled he will be playing this season.”

The longest-tenured player on the 2022 roster, he has appeared in 222 games and is second only to Tom Brady in games played for the Patriots. He hasn’t missed a game over the past five seasons.

Last season Slater finished with 13 special teams tackles. His 11 seasons with double-digit special teams tackles is the most in the NFL since 2000.