Patriots

Matthew Slater, Devin McCourty intend to play in 2020

Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower, and Matthew Slater. EPA/LARRY W. SMITH

Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater intends to return to the NFL next season.

“It’s my desire to continue to play,” Slater told reporters at the AFC’s practice ahead of the Pro Bowl. “I’m going to prepare and approach it as though I’m going to continue to play and we’ll see how it goes.”

The same goes for safety Devin McCourty, who also contemplated retirement following Super Bowl LIII.

“He wants to play,” McCourty’s agent Andy Simms told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “Retirement is not an option.”

Whether the two veterans will return to the Patriots has yet to be determined.

As free agents, McCourty and Slater can test the market this offseason. McCourty, drafted 27th overall by the Patriots in 2010, is entering his 11th season, while Slater, drafted 153rd overall by the Patriots in 2008, is entering his 13th.

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Slater has made it clear his preference is to stay in New England.

“It’s hard for me to visualize myself playing anywhere else,” he said. “But that’s not always my decision, so I think that’s out of my control. I’ve expressed publicly and privately to remain a Patriot for the entirety of my career and, certainly, I still feel that way. So, we’ll see how it goes.”

The Patriots are projected to have $28 million in cap space for 2020.

Other notable Patriots free agents include quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, safety Nate Ebner, guard Joseph Thuney, and linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins.

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