Jackie Slater was an NFL Hall-of-Fame lineman for the Los Angeles Rams. On Sunday, his son steps, Patriots wide receiver and special teamer Matthew Slater, steps on the field to play against his dad’s old team. “I’m sure I will feel some kind of way when I see the jersey. Ultimately at the end of the day, I am here with my teammates and representing what I believe is the finest organization in this league. And we are going to do everything we can to beat that team,” said the younger Slater when asked about his father’s team.
If Jackie had his way though, Matthew would have never touched the field honestly. But even though he did play against his father’s wishes, he has carved out himself a long career as primarily a special teams guy, even making a few Pro Bowls. Even with his father not wanting him to play, they still share the success as a family. “It was after the Atlanta game and my dad was sitting up in his seats and all day long people were giving him a hard time. And I think some of that laughter was in relief. But anytime I am able to have success on the football field, my dad feels like he is a big part of it. Certainly that day was an emotional one for all of us. Every time I think about what I am doing now, it always comes back to my dad. My love of the game came from him.”
As he goes into Sunday, Slater has a chance to continue to build upon his legacy on the football field. But when asked about his legacy and being a special teams player over his career, Slater answered in a unique way: “That’s a question that I haven’t really spent much time thinking about. When I think about legacy, I think about a legacy that I will leave behind not on the football field. A legacy for me is people remembering a man that is a follower of Christ, tried to love people, do the right things off the field, had an impact in the community and lead in the right way. If people remember me for that and don’t remember me for anything on the football field, I’m ok with that.”
Slater is a football player and that is his profession, but it’s bigger than football for him by his relationship with Christ, his dad, and his love for family.