BOSTON (CBS) -- At this point in his career, Matthew Slater's name has become synonymous with the New England Patriots. Entering year 15, he wasn't prepared to change that.
The 11-time special teams captain and 10-time Pro Bowler spoke to the New England media on Thursday, fresh off signing a one-year deal to remain in New England for the 2022 season. He discussed what it was that brought him back to Foxboro for another season.
"The Patriots had to want me back, so I wasn't going to go anywhere else," Slater said. "Not that my services would be sought after anywhere else, who knows? But I certainly appreciate the conversations that I had with Coach [Bill Belichick] and where he saw this going, and I'm happy it worked out."
Slater's deal will pay him $2.622 million next season, a comparable salary to what he made over the past four seasons. Slater said that made the contract discussions rather simple.
"Without getting into too much detail, they weren't very difficult," Slater said of the negotiations. "We're not negotiating an $80 million contract here, you know? So it was nice to have a conversation with Bill about where he saw me, where he saw me moving forward, where I saw myself and what that would look like. I appreciate Coach taking the time to sit down with me and discuss that, and I've always appreciated Coach just for the opportunity that he's given me to be a part of his football team. And that's something that I've never taken for granted."
Slater added: "For him to want me back here, it really means a lot to me. For me to have a chance to play 15 years in this place, I mean I never once thought I'd have the opportunity to do that. I was just trying to squeeze on to the practice squad when I got here. So it's been a surreal ride and thankfully I didn't lose any more hair -- which I don't have any to lose -- during the negotiations."
Slater is one of a three longtime captains to re-sign with the Patriots thus far, along with Devin McCourty (11 years) and James White (four seasons). Slater spoke specifically of what it means to spend another year alongside McCourty in the Patriots' locker room.
"I was joking with him. I said I'm not calling back unless you're coming back," Slater said of McCourty. "So you know, I realized how special it is to have a chance to play alongside a guy for 13 years. And Devin's not just anyone. He's one of the best men I've ever known. He's been a tremendous example for me to follow both on and off the football field. And honestly, at this point in my career, it would be tough, I think playing without him. There's certain guys that you really just learn to lean on and depend on, and he's one of those guys. I'm thankful that his situation worked out the way that it did and mine worked out the way that it did, and that we get a chance to do this one more year."
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