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Patriots' Matthew Slater focused on serving others while training at home for 13th NFL season

Like all athletes, New England Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater, an eight-time Pro Bowler, has been forced to get creative with his training as he prepares for his 13th NFL season. The lack of a clear timeline as to when players may be able to use team facilities again complicates the situation even more.

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“I think for me and a lot of my teammates, it’s just been a day-by-day approach,” Slater said during the second weekly Huddle Up! conversation this week. “There’s obviously a lot of uncertainty surrounding us and the future of football.”

Slater has developed a training routine at home with the help of some purchases from Amazon and his family members. He said his children occasionally help out by serving as human weights — “sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly” — and that he’s grateful for the extra time he gets to spend with his family.

“It’s been a time to get creative,” Slater said. “It’s been a time to, I think, bring things back into perspective that maybe have shifted out of focus. So all in all, I think, as challenging as it has been from an athletic standpoint, I think there’s still a lot to be thankful for when you consider the time at home and getting the kids involved and even my wife being involved, it really, really feels like a family affair.”

During the conversation, Slater answered a question from a 10-year-old boy named Jett, who was disappointed that he couldn’t play football with his friends, and wondered if Slater was disappointed that he couldn’t train with his teammates this spring.

“When I think about my football season and missing training, and potentially missing an offseason, I don’t know that I would say I’m disappointed,” Slater responded. “I think right now, as is the case with all of us, I’m concerned for our world, and I’m concerned for the health of everyone, not only in the U.S., but around the world. For me, football has to take a back seat — and I mean a way back seat right now.”

Instead, Slater says his focus is on finding ways to love and serve others during these challenging times. As for the return of football, Slater is staying as ready as possible and embracing God’s timing.

“What takes up my thinking now are ways that we can be praying for people, ways that we can be supporting people, ways that I can be supporting my family, praying for them and serving them. And just praying that God sees us through this time. If He wants me or anyone else to return to football, I know it will be there in His timing,” he said.

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