Despite the numerous issues the Patriots have encountered playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two weeks — multiple reschedule games, several players testing positive, and only two on-field practices — Matthew Slater offered no excuses following Sunday’s 18-12 loss to the Broncos.
Speaking to reporters, Slater acknowledged that his team has had to deal with unprecedented circumstances.
“You know, I mean there’s no script for this,” Slater began. “So just take it one day at a time. This is affecting us all differently. And that’s understandable, I get that.”
That said, Slater doesn’t believe the Patriots can use their issues as an excuse.
“We made a decision that we were going to play this year and I think all of us understood the potential scenarios that existed when we opted in,” said Slater. “And that doesn’t mean that it’s easy when you’re faced with them, but we have to do the best that we can to remain committed to the choice we made to play football. We’re blessed to be doing what we’re doing, and if we’re going to do it, we need to commit ourselves to doing it at a high level. That’s what we chose to do, and it’s not easy.”
Slater, a special teams star, is also known for his leadership and integrity. In 2017, he won the prestigious Bart Starr Award, given to the player who “best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community.”
Looking at the Patriots’ situation, Slater added some wider perspective.
“I mean, look everyone’s dealing with this,” Slater added. “There are countless people who have had their lives turned upside down and they’re having to find a way to provide for their families, they’re having to find a way to, to keep food on the table, to keep the lights on. So our situation, certainly, in light of others is not all that bad, but still I think it’s not easy for guys with kids and families.”
The 35-year-old also knows that New England won’t get a chance to do the year over, regardless of how difficult the 2020 season might be.
“We have to be responsible, we have to be selfless with what we do inside and outside of the building and then we have to commit ourselves to our craft because look, nobody can get this year back,” Slater concluded. “I can’t go back next year and say, ‘Oh let’s do this over.’ This is a year that goes past and we’ll never get back so let’s try to maximize it.”
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