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Patriots fans remember Matthew Slater's work off the field

Patriots fans remember Matthew Slater as a player who was all about community
Patriots fans remember Matthew Slater as a player who was all about community 02:28

BOSTON - His special teams plays changed games, but Matthew Slater's quiet commitment to community changed lives. The 38-year-old announced his retirement on Tuesday.

"I think he's so much more special than what you see on TV. Guys like this, you just can't replace what he does off the field. He's Hall of Fame on the field; he's Hall of Fame off the field," said Rob Griffin, of the Corey C. Griffin Foundation.

And while he always showed up to do his job in uniform, Slater's greatest work was less about football, with a focus on faith, family, and fellowship. WBZ-TV was there in December, when Slater, with the Corey C. Griffin Foundation, delivered Chromebooks and headphones for 2,000 underserved kids in Boston.

Matthew Slater wrap a pat
Patriots captain Matthew Slater is wrapped up at the annual holiday party at Gillette Stadium CBS Boston

"He represents the kids that we serve. He knows what it's like to be from an underserved community. He knows what it's like to overcome adversity. You hear that when he speaks. It comes from his heart," said foundation president Chandra Clark.

"As a huge Patriots fan myself, going and seeing Matthew Slater at some of these events has been kind of a star-struck moment for me," said Pranav Govindarajan, who volunteers with Project 351.

The longtime leader in the Pats' locker room has been a valuable mentor for Massachusetts' young leaders. As Project 351 students gave back to cities and towns across the Commonwealth, Slater was often right there - serving and inspiring - beside them.

"Being an active member of the community because when growing up, obviously our community does a lot for us - understanding and being grateful and giving back to those who help you," Govindarajan said, of Slater's lessons.

Back at Corey's Christmas, founder Rob Griffin, who does this philanthropic work in the spirit of his late son, was most moved by Slater's Christmas message about gifts from God  and their eternal value.

"When he speaks about faith, the kids are different when they leave. And that's special,"  Griffin said. 

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