Matthew Slater '03 has broken his own NFL record being named to an historic 9th Pro Bowl as a special teams player! In addition, he tied the Patriots franchise record for second-most Pro Bowl selections behind only Tom Brady (14). Slater has also been chosen as one of eight finalists for the 2020 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award!
Read more about both prestigious recognitions from Patriots.com.
Slater has been named to his ninth career Pro Bowl as a special teams player, extending his record for most special teams Pro Bowl honors in NFL history. Steve Tasker is second with seven. Slater is now tied with John Hannah for the second-most Pro Bowl selections in franchise history, behind the 14 by Tom Brady. The former fifth-round draft pick out of UCLA earned a roster position with the Patriots as a rookie in 2008 with his contributions on special teams. Entering the 2011 season, teammates elected him as their special teams captain. That year, he was also selected to his first Pro Bowl. Since then, he has earned special teams captain honors to start each season and been voted to the Pro Bowl at season's end every year except 2018. Slater has led the Patriots in special teams tackles for seven of his 12 seasons and has five special teams tackles in 2020.
Art Rooney Award
The eight finalists for the 2020 ART ROONEY SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD have been named, the NFL announced. The award is presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
The finalists, featuring four players from each conference, are defensive end CALAIS CAMPBELL (Baltimore), defensive tackle CAMERON HEYWARD (Pittsburgh), defensive end JUSTIN HOUSTON (Indianapolis) and wide receiver MATTHEW SLATER (New England) in the AFC, and quarterback TEDDY BRIDGEWATER (Carolina), linebacker LAVONTE DAVID (Tampa Bay), center JASON KELCE (Philadelphia) and fullback KYLE JUSZCZYK (San Francisco) in the NFC.
A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community selected the eight finalists from the 32 NFL club nominees. The panel is comprised of WARRICK DUNN, CURTIS MARTIN, KARL MECKLENBURG and LEONARD WHEELER. The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category.
"You try to think about the man who is representing the organization, their teammates and also what they are doing on the football field – the impact they are having," said DUNN."You want guys who display leadership, who go above and beyond, who think about their teammates before they think about themselves. It is always hard to narrow down the list of individuals for this award."
The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer ART ROONEY, SR.
Campbell is a finalist for the third consecutive season, while Slater is a finalist for the second straight year and third time overall. David has been nominated in each of the past three seasons, while this is Heyward's second nomination for the award. Bridgewater, Houston, Juszczyk and Kelce are all first-time nominees in 2020.
The winner of the NFL Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. From the eight finalists, each team's players will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.