By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are staying on the road this week, calling UCLA their home as they gear up for Thursday night’s clash with the Los Angeles Rams. For special teams ace Matthew Slater, it’s a homecoming.

Slater spent his college years with the Bruins before the Patriots drafted him in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. The team is staying at UCLA between Sunday’s win over the Chargers and Thursday night’s game against the Rams, giving Slater an opportunity to relive his time as big man on campus.

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He’s regaled many a tails from his collegiate days to his teammates, and when Slater talks, everyone listens. In turn, his teammates are having some fun with one of their captains.

“We were looking around campus for the statue of him,” fellow special teamer Cody Davis relayed Monday night. “We joked with him that this is ‘The House That Slater Built.'”

“He doesn’t let anybody not hear,” wide receiver Damiere Byrd added. “I think Slate is very happy to be back.”

The Patriots won’t be doing too much exploring around the school’s campus, with COVID-19 restrictions keeping them to their hotel on campus, the weight room and the practice field. But that’s OK, because they’ve got Slater to give them the rundown on everything UCLA.

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Prior to Sunday’s game, Slater had an opportunity to discuss what the school means to him. As always, his words had a lasting impact with his teammates.

“He got to share some of his experiences going through college and making him the man he is today,” said Davis. “That was really neat to hear some of those stories.”

Slater hasn’t had too many opportunities to play in his home state of California, so this trip has some extra special meaning for the 35-year-old. Sunday was his first game in Los Angeles since his days with the Bruins.

“I don’t know how many more chances I’m going to have to play football in California, where my dreams started as a kid,” Slater said last week. “It certainly means a lot.”

Slater said that this is a business trip for the team, but Thursday’s game against the Rams will carry “a little extra significance” for him. Slater’s father, Jackie, spent his entire 20-year, Hall-of-Fame career with the Rams franchise.

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WBZ gets you ready for Thursday night’s Patriots-Rams game starting Wednesday night with Patriots All Access at 7 p.m. After the Patriots and the Rams are done Thursday night, tune in to TV38 for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!

CBSBoston.com Staff