BOSTON (CBS) — Bill Belichick has seen a lot of great football and a lot of great football players throughout his career in the game. When it comes to special teams play, the Patriots head coach doesn’t know if he’s seen anyone better than Matthew Slater.
Slater was named to his ninth Pro Bowl on Monday, setting a new NFL record for a special teams player. On Tuesday, Belichick was asked where his special teams captain ranks among other great special teamers to grace the NFL, and the head coach said that Slater has “got to be at the top.”
“I can’t think of anybody that has done more than he has, and he’s done it over a very consistent period of time at an extremely high level,” Belichick said on his Tuesday morning conference call. “In addition to all the other qualities that he brings off the field; his leadership, just doing the right thing, just the person and the human being that he is, his competitiveness on the field, a great teammate. He’s just outstanding in all areas.
“It’d be hard for me to imagine anyone going ahead of him,” added Belichick. “We’ve had some great players here, and I’ve had great players through my career going back to Cleveland and the Giants, but he’s the very best that I’ve been around and that we’ve had to playa against as well. His consistency is outstanding, but he factors in on a lot of plays.”
The Patriots drafted Slater in the fifth round in 2008 out of UCLA, and he has since developed into one of the NFL’s best players on special teams. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2011, and has made the AFC’s roster year but 2018. Slater also earned First-Team All-Pro honors in 2016 and 2019.