FOXBORO -- When it came to free-agent possibilities, Matthew Slater said Tuesday that there was no need to even consider anyone else when it came to the open market.
“My heart was here all along. I wanted to be here. I was just happy they felt the same way about me and they wanted me back,” Slater said on a break from workouts at Gillette Stadium. “I’m just very thankful they wanted me back here and they’ve given me an opportunity to continue my career here, just as they did four years ago. They gave me an opportunity to keep playing football when maybe not a lot of people would have. I’m just thankful to be here."
It was a breakout year for the 26-year-old. The 6-foot, 200-pounder out of UCLA, who made the Pro Bowl this past year, just finished up his fourth season in New England, having worked as a wide receiver, defensive back and special teamer. He caught one pass for 46 yards this past year, and also saw extensive time at safety. But it was a bittersweet season for Slater, who was part of a team that just missed out on a Super Bowl.
“I still have dreams that we ... I wake up and we won the game. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for us the way we wanted,” he said. “But, I think we had a great season. I think we should be proud of what we accomplished. We’ll look back on that at the end of our careers and be thankful for that experience. But now, we’re just focusing on the year 2012 and getting better and improving and trying to put ourselves in position to get back to that point."
He said he’s watched a “little bit” of the loss to the Giants.
‘Only because my dad made me watch it,” he said. “But, it was tough to watch it. We got so close. We were winning with four minutes left in the game. You could taste victory. A lot of effort and heart and soul was put into that, to get to that point. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out. But we can’t dwell on that. It’s time for us to look to 2012."
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