After six Patriots players opted out of the 2020 NFL season earlier this week, there was the potential for even more, including special teams captain Matthew Slater.
But, according to NFL Media's Mike Garafolo, Slater was debating opting out but decided against it, and Garafolo also noted some Patriots were waiting to see what he would do and now that he's playing it could be an indication others will do the same.
“One guy who almost opted out, he decided not to, and that is Matt Slater," he said. "That is a long-time, team captain of the Patriots, Matt Slater. We were chasing this yesterday — Ian Rapoport and I — because I was told Slater was leaning towards opting out and Rapoport eventually tracked down Slater who said, ‘No, it was a tough decision, but I will be playing.’ There you go Patriots fans, a little glimmer of hope for this year that you didn’t lose another guy.
“… By the way, being a team captain, there were other guys looking to Slater seeing what he was going to do, so it is possible this list could have grown even more if Slater had opted out.”
Slater opting out would have been a huge hit to the team from a leadership perspective as Dont'a Hightower and Patrick Chung were among those to say earlier in the week they will not be playing.